Big hat, check. Cucumber tea sandwiches, check. Big girl drink, well, almost check.
I’m a stickler for authenticity and when it comes to juleps strict Kentucky rules dictate that you need crushed ice, a julep cup and a julep spoon/straw. Knowing that I, and most likely, many of you, wouldn’t have these things on hand, I wanted a comparable alternative.
This recipe is perfect in that it requires no muddling, so no mint in the actual drink, and no special cups or spoons or ice. For an extra touch I added sparkling wine to the top, which means you need your bourbon mixture and your sparkling super cold.
Great for batches, so if you’re entertaining for a crowd, the recipe is easily doubleable ( I think I just made up a word!).
Superfine is the only way to go for sugar, it dissolves much more quickly and easily into the water solution.
Overnight is also the way to go for this, for optimal marry time, that’s why you’re getting this a day ahead of plan, I want you sipping on these tomorrow!
I used Woodford as it’s one of my favorite bourbons, but Makers Mark, Elijah Craig, Blanton’s, Knob Creek, Buffalo Trace, and the like would be perfect.
Caution – there is a lot of punch in this here drink and the sugar and mint help hide it, not to be a mom, but drink responsibly. Oh yeah, and gentlemen, start your engines, eh, I mean, horses!
Sparkling Mint Julep
2 cups bourbon
2 bunches fresh spearmint
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup superfine sugar
Champagne or sparkling wine
Pick about 40 small leaves. Wash and place in a small bowl. Cover with 3 ounces bourbon. Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes. Gather mint leaves together and wring over bowl of bourbon. Let sit again and wring again. Do this as often as you have time for, as more extract comes out with each time.
To prepare simple syrup, mix superfine sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat to dissolve sugar. Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool.
To prepare mint julep mixture, pour 2 cups of bourbon into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher. Add 1/2 cup of the simple syrup to the bourbon.
Add the mint extract to the julep mixture. 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 champagne glasses with bourbon mixture, leaving room for sparkling wine. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with extra mint. Enjoy!
Slightly adapted from Bill Samuels