Thursday, May 5, 2016

Making Mint Juleps

The Kentucky Derby is coming up on Saturday, May 7, and watch parties for this most-celebrated horse race in the country abound. Even here in Houston.

If you are hosting one of those parties, you must plan on serving traditional Mint Juleps to your guests. 

Note: They must be made 24 hours in advance.

Below is one of the best recipes I've found, along with instructions that are easy to follow.

4 cups bourbon
2 bunches fresh spearmint
1 cup distilled water
1 cup granulated sugar
powered sugar

DirectionsTo prepare mint extract, remove about 40 small mint leaves. Wash and place in a small bowl. Cover with 3 ounces bourbon. Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes. Then, ather the leaves in paper toweling. Throughly wring the mint over the bowl of whiskey. Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times.

To prepare simple syrup, mix 1 cup of granulated saga and 1 cup of distilled water in a small saucepan. Heat to dissolve sugar. Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool. 

To prepare mint julep mixture, pour 3 1/2 cups of bourbon into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher. Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the bourbon.

Now, begin adding the mint extract 1 tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture. Each  batch of mint extract is different, so you must taste and smell after each tablespoon is added. You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste - generally about 3 tablespoons. When you think it's right, pour the whole mixture back into the empty liter bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to "marry" the flavors.

To serve the julep, fill each glass (preferably a silver mint julep cup) 1/2 full with shaved ice. Insert a sprig of mint and then pack in more ice to about 1-inch over the top of the cup. Then, insert a straw that has been cut to 1-inch above the top of the cup so the nose if forced close to the mint when sipping the julep. 

When frost forms on the cup, pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice and add a sprinkle of powered sugar to the top of the ice. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Bill Samuels and the Food Network.

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