Back in March – Wine Festival week, to be exact – Kevin and I took a Bartending 102 class from Josh Durr at Tonic. We learned how to make mint juleps and I ran right home and wrote up this post. (I purposely held it for Derby week. Why am I burying it on a Saturday? Long story.)
The most important thing I learned from Josh in this particular session was that, with a mint julep, the method is more important than the ingredients.
Place the mint in the bottom of the cup.
Pour in 1/2 oz of maple syrup.
We used this in place of simple syrup and I really loved the results.
Add 1 oz of Bourbon.
I believe we used Ancient Ancient Age in the classroom, but pick your favorite. Josh also suggested Old Grand-Dad and Old Weller.
Roll the muddler on the mint, rolling towards the top of the glass. Make sure to get the oils on the rim on the glass.
This takes a certain amount of technique, as I learned. Don’t pound on the mint either – you want the mint to be minty, and pounding? Well that just makes it bitter.
Next, crush your ice.
I used an old fashioned ice crusher Josh had handy. I swear my grandma had one on her bar and I loved it. Kevin pounded away on a bag of ice with the muddler. Both methods are valid.
Add crushed ice to your glass until it is filled just under the edge.
Stir, pulling up from the bottom of the glass.
Next, add another 1 oz of bourbon.
Add a second layer of ice, so that it sort of resembles the shape of a sno-cone.
Garnish with 2 short straws and a sprig of mint.
Honestly, this made one of the best mint juleps I’ve ever had. What was even more surprising was that I made it myself! I know it sounds easy in the directions, but the technique – especially with muddling – is tricky to get the hang of.
Happy Derby Day!
Photos from Business Courier article about our class, by photographer Bruce Crippen.
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