Mint Juleps are a fairly simple drink to make. They do need some key ingredients. First is bourbon. Second, and most important in my mind is mint. Crushed ice and a simple syrup round out the list.
There are many brands of bourbon. Some are a bargain and others are very, very expensive. I use my favorite when I make mint juleps. The amount of bourbon used is up to the individual mixer.
I make my simple syrup a bit differently than many. The day before I plan to serve mint juleps I prepare the sugar mixture. Dissolve the sugar into water by heating slowly in a sauce pan over low heat. For a traditional taste, I use equal parts water and sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, I remove the pan from the heat and add mint leaves to the solution. Store the cooled concoction overnight in the refrigerator. Strain the mint the following morning. This gives the drink a very minty taste.
Some people muddle the mint in the bottom of the glass when making this signature Kentucky Derby drink. I don’t always remember this step. Fortunately, the minty simple syrup makes up for the missed step.
Usually I first fill the glass with crushed ice. Then add the bourbon and the simple syrup. Add these two liquids in equal parts. Or the drink can be made stronger with more bourbon or sweeter with more syrup. Garnish with more mint.
The following recipe works well if you serve the drinks in half pint jelly jars.
Items needed: 8 jelly jars ½ pint (8 oz.) or similar sized glasses, small saucepan, Quart canning jar
2 Cups Mint divided with one cup chopped
2 Cups Bourbon
4 Cups Water
2 Cups Sugar
Simmer water and sugar over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in chopped mint. Refrigerate overnight in quart canning jar. Strain the following morning to remove mint leaves.
To serve: Fill ½ pint jars with crushed ice. Add ¼ cup bourbon and ¼ cup simple syrup mixture. Garnish with mint sprigs. Enjoy responsibly.