Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mint Julep for Derby Day

Today is the Kentucky Derby, so it's the day for Mint Juleps.

We were invited to a ball for a charity for which we volunteer.  As it happens, the women who taught me to make Mint Juleps were there, so I made a batch and brought them over.

I've had good luck with infusing the mint in the bourbon for several hours in advance - several hours as in "more than two".

In this case, I started with Paul Harrington's recipe:
  • 3 oz Bourbon
  • 2-4 Teaspoons of simple syrup
  • 4 to 6 sprigs mint
In this case, I made 6 drinks, so I started by putting 18 oz of Maker's Mark into a mason jar that was about half full of mint leaves.

If you read about mint, you'll find a lot of conflicting information about muddling, not muddling, etc. I tend to agree with the folks who say that if you crush the leaves you'll get bad flavors along with the good.  So I very lightly bruise the leaves - lay them on my palm and slap them.
O doesn't like her drinks too sweet - at 2T simple syrup per drink, that would be 4 oz of simple syrup - so I only used 2 oz simple syrup.

I also wanted to add some other flavor notes, so I added some peach brandy* - 3 oz - which is also pretty sweet stuff - but not as sweet as syrup.

Anyhow, my ratios turned out to be a lucky guess. Not too dry, not too sweet. O said she couldn't really taste the peach brandy, so next time I'd add one more ounce of peach brandy and see if that note comes out more.

As always, serve over crushed ice, and stir the drinks well before serving to get some of the ice to melt and dilute the bourbon - it really opens up the flavors. Garnish with a mint sprig, and remember they are STRONG** - you are pouring three ounces of Bourbon into each glass.

*I've seen some old recipes calling for peach brandy, but I  think that meant  a dry, high proof brandy made from peaches - I don't know if anyone makes anything like that now.   I used DeKuyper - didn't have time for a liquor store run to see if I could find something from Marie Brizard or Mathilde, etc.

**The last time we served Mint Juleps was in 2006.  People grew sufficiently intoxicated that there was very naughty behavior after we left the party.


HappyDayArt! said...

Hi George!

O gave me the address of your blog and here I was rewarded with the recipe for your amazing Mint Juleps! Still, I'm almost certain that I would rather YOU make them for us again some time when the weather is hot.

HEY! I missed THAT party.

This looks like a very interesting topic. Thanks for writing about it.

Catherine Witherell

dh514514 said...

Hi guys, I'm launching a recipe search engine at
There's lots of cocktail and punch recipes on it and if any of you could give me feedback on how to improve it, I'd really appreciate it.

Rubel said...

very nice post thanks.

Post a Comment