One drink that I have enjoyed each year during the Kentucky Derby is a mint julep. Well, that really led me to thinking that I have not really shared to how make a mint julep yet. Yes, I know that you have plenty of options on the Internet on how to make them, but at the same time each recipe that I found is the same with a fairly basic principle.
What Do You Need To Make A Mint Julep
The ingredients you need are actually very basic and easy to find. The ingredients are mint, a simple syrup, crushed ice, and then bourbon. All of these can be found in the local grocery store, but you may have to find the bourbon at a liquor store.
Now, the bourbon that you select is up to you. However, I found that a smoother bourbon tends to bring out the flavor profile better in the mint julep. Not to mention it goes down a lot better when the bourbon is a higher quality.
How To Make A Mint Julep
The first thing that you need to do is make your simple syrup if you do not have one already made. The simply syrup is easy to make and definitely taste a lot better if homemade.
Once you have the simple syrup put it in the bottom of the cup. Remember you are only going to need about a quarter of an ounce. Then you will want to put the mint leaves in with the syrup. Here comes the fun part you get to mash up the leaves a little bit to get the full flavor of the mint out into the syrup. Be careful, though, not to break the leaves up too much so you do not choke on them.
Once you have finished crushing up the mint leaves, remember this is going to impact the strength of the mint in the drink, you are going to put your bourbon in. The strength can vary depending on how much you want to have, but if you go too strong with the bourbon the drink will taste more like alcohol, but too weak and the mint could overpower the alcohol.
The alcohol even with the mint and simple syrup mixture can be overpowering and not to mention a little bit on the warm side. Since that is the case, you need to take the crushed ice that you already have on hand and pack it into the cup. Packing the cup with the ice will cool down the alcohol, but also make the drink taste a lot better than what you expect. Not to mention, it will take the drink and make it last quite a bit longer.
To get a better mint smell and flavor profile you should take a mint and put it on top of the ice at the edge as a garnish. To get the oils activated you can run the mint in between your fingers rather lightly, careful not to shred the mint leaves.
After all of this is done you can finally enjoy the mint julep. Not to mention, you now know how to make your own mint julep. If you really want to impress at a party, though, you can show everyone you know how to make a mint julep, just like those at the Kentucky Derby.
History Of The Mint Julep
The mint julep actually has a history that dates back to the early 1800’s to the lake 1790’s. While many people think more of a mint julep as a modern drink it simply is not.
The mint julep is thought to have been started out as a satirical type of drink or playwright type of drink from the 1770’s. One thing that has been agreed upon for the drink is the fact that it did originate in the Southern part of the United States.
When it was first mentioned after making its rounds in the plays, a mint julep, was found in doctors books. This was a remedy that was used well before modern medicine and was one that was used to help with upset stomachs and if you were having difficulty swallowing. This would definitely make since as mint is still used today as a home remedy for stomach issues and one that is used in the mint julep.
Now, the mint julep would undergo several variations and depending on where you lived become more of a local twist. For example, in 1862, a book was published that had 5 different ways to make a mint julep. Each one of the ways varied depending on where you lived and on the garnishment for the mint julep.
While the changes would come to the mint julep over time, it was the introduction to the Churchill Downs racetrack that the mint julep secures its place in history. The mint julep in 1938 became the offical drink of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby. It is worth mentioning that prior to the pandemic hitting Churchill Downs would seve close to a hundred thousand mint juleps.
Now You Know About The Mint Julep
Well, as the saying goes from my husband’s favorite cartoon, now you know and knowing is half the battle. That is the case here, you now know the history of the mint julep. However, even more important than knowing the history of the mint julep, you have learned how to make a mint julep as well and can easily impress family and friends with your knowledge.