The Mojito may be the chic minty cocktail of the moment but at least one day a year it has to step aside for that beautiful southern belle, the Mint Julep. That day, the day of Kentucky Derby, is just around the corner; May 5, to be exact. The pairing of this sporting event and cocktail is perhaps the closest relationship in the wide world of sports and booze. Baseball has beer; cricket has tea (which MUST to be cut with generous amounts of whiskey otherwise how can anyone sit through it?); and curling has, well, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know whatÃ‚Â though IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure it has something. But all of these sports can exist without their particular drink and vice-versa.
The Kentucky Derby and the Mint Julep are a holy pair and cannot exist separately. The idea of a Derby held without copiously amounts of Julep is inconceivable and, honestly, who even thinks about Mint Juleps the other 364 days of the year?
So, if youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not going to make it to the Derby itself this year, you must at least have a few Juleps. In fact, invite a bunch of friends, don you most outlandish hats, gather around the TV, and pass around a few of these:
- 4-6 mint leaves
- 2 sugar cubes
- 4 oz bourbon
- mint sprig for garnish
Add the first three ingredients to your cocktail shaker. Crush, or muddle, the mint leaves and sugar against the bottom of the shaker. Do this until the sugar is dissolve and the mint aroma is evident.
Add a few ice cubes to the shaker then shake well. Strain into a julep cup with ice or, if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t happen to have one lying around a Collins glass will do.
Garnish with the mint sprig.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s it. After youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve knocked back two or three of these you can probably leave out the mint sprig. But donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t let us hear that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been using anything besides proper bourbon. No Scotch or Irish whiskey will do for this distinctly Southern drink. Here at BoozinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Gear we prefer MakerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Mark or Jim Beam but any bourbon will do.