Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Mint Julep, Part II, Muddled Mint Julep

Since we're focusing so much upon the Derby's main drink, let's take a moment to focus on the race itself.

This year's Kentucky Derby has already gone through a bit of drama when the original favorite, Eskendereya, had to withdraw after some swelling in its left front leg.  Now, the favorite is a horse called Lookin at Lucky. 

But, in yesterday's lane draw, Lookin at Lucky drew the inside lane, which made me question the veracity of its namesake.  Lucky?  Not yet, anyway.  The inside lane is notoriously difficult to navigate unless the horse can get out in front early, or, if the horse can somehow find its way through traffic.

Sidney's Candy, the horse slated as the second favorite, is running out of the far gate, gate 20.  Some horse racing enthusiasts think that the far post positions for the two favorites somehow evens things out.  I don't know what to make of it, truthfully. 

My pick is Ice Box, in the second post position.  He's a late closer, which I think will prove usefull when Sidney's Candy runs out of gas at the end.

Now, onto the Muddled Mint Julep!

The Ultimate Bar Book, page 358

Muddled Mint Julep

12 to 14 fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon simple syrup
4 ounces Kentucky bourbon
2 to 3 mint sprigs
Lemon twist (optional)

Muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a chilled julep cup or old fashioned glass.  Fill the glass with crushed ice, add the bourbon, and stir until the glass is frosty.  Garnish with the mint sprigs, extending them above the rim, and a twist of lemon peel, if desired.

I'll be making this version with Jim Beam White Label, Simple Syrup (available at Fresh Market, or made on your stove if you're not as lazy as I am), organic mint, and lemon (though admittedly, I'm not going to include a lemon peel, because I find it unnecessary).

This is a little sweeter, more accessible version of the Mint Julep.  But don't be fooled, it is still a strong bourbon drink.  Not much changes in this drink, compared to yesterday's Traditional Southern-Style Mint Julep, except that additional mint is used at the start, muddled with the simple syrup.  The added mint provides a little sweetness, and a more prominent mint flavor.  The same aroma is present as a result of the prominently placed mint sprig as a garnish. 

This is a great cocktail, no doubt about it.  It requires a little more mint, and a very small amount of effort with the muddling.  Is it better than the Traditional version?  I don't know - to each their own, right?  I like them both, but I'd probably make the Traditional version more often, if only for convenience sake.  I also like bourbon enough to drink it with less periphery. 

Tomorrow, more Mint Julep madness!  By the end of this week, you're going to know more about Mint Julep variations than a Louisville bartender.

For more drink links, random musings, and my attempts to be witty, check us out @IMakeDrinks on Twitter.


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