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.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the Kentucky Derby. Between the horses and the hats, I’m in absolute heaven. So I thought I’d share with you, over the next three or so days, some of my favorite Derby drink recipes.
We’ll start with perhaps the easiest, which is Bourbon Slush. With any of these drinks, make sure you use a nice bourbon. The quality of the bourbon affects the quality of the drink, no matter how you mix it. For this particular recipe, I like to use Woodford Reserve from the special Derby edition bottle.
I got this recipe from my old friend Kate, and it is by far the best slush I have tasted or made. I tend to make it the night before a party to ensure a good amount of slushiness.
Kate’s Bourbon Slush
Step 1: Tea
2 1/2 cups boiling water
2 peach tea bags
1 cup sugar
Combine the boiling water and tea bags.
Once the tea is set, remove the bags and pourinto a large plastic container. (There must be room for the tea to expand once in the freezer.)
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
Step 2: Those yummy flavors
6 cups cold water
1 large can, frozen lemonade
1 small can, frozen orange juice
2 cups Kentucky bourbon
Add remaining ingredients to the tea.
Stir until all ingredients are well blended.
Freeze in plastic container, covered, for 6 to 8 hours, sometimes longer depending on your freezer. Spoon into glasses and top off with Sprite or 7Up.
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