The Silver Circuit
Mat Cauthon understood this drink. A hot, dry day of betting on horses in Ebou Dhar requires something that can quench your thirst and cool you down all at once. A "very good hat" is de riguer, but scarf and foxhead medallion are entirely optional.
- Spearmint! A good 8-10 leaves of the stuff. Not dried. FRESH!
- Simple syrup
See instructions below on how to prepare this.
- A double shot of Kentucky Bourbon
A standard shot is about 1.5 oz. of liquor, so a double shot is 3 oz. Chip recommends Knob Creek Bourbon, but any non-sweet bourbon will do.
- A few ice cubes
- How to Make a Simple Syrup
- To make the "simple syrup" required by this recipe, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Refrigerate until needed. Yields about 1 1/2 cups of simple syrup. (If you'd like to avoid sugar, just do the same using Splenda, Equal or some other artificial sweetener of your choice.)
Crush the mint and ice together. Chip recommends using a mortar and pestle for this step. Get the ice in about 1/2 inch size pieces or smaller. Now put the crushed mint, ice and a double shot of bourbon into a shaker. Chip recommends using a bourbon that is not very sweet since you are about to add a simple syrup to it. Add 2 parts (about 6 oz.) of simple syrup to the shaker. Shake well. Pour into an Old Fashioned glass and serve. If you have an extra sprig of mint, add it to the drink as garnish.
- If you really what to impress your guests, invest in a set of traditional silver Mint Julep cups. You can find them on Amazon and they are worth the investment if you think you'll be making this drink each year. The silver frosts over - which a glass will not do - and it makes the drink that much tastier and refreshing to drink.
While spearmint is the traditional "Mint Julep" mint (and the one Chip prefers), you can try this drink with other types of mint. Peppermint is a bit overpowering to use, but apple mint, chocolate mint, and pineapple mint all make refreshing and interesting variations. Feel free to experiment with other varieties of mint and adapt the recipe to suit your own tastes.
Another variation is to add mint to the simple syrup itself. Prepare the syrup as above but after you remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool a bit, pour it over a sprig of mint leaves in a jar and mash them with a wooden spoon. Close the jar and refrigerate overnight. Then, the next day, remove the mint leaves. This syrup - which should be useable for several weeks - adds an extra kick of that minty flavor, so if you really like mint, give it a shot!
Finally, nothing looks fancier than adding a special garnish to a cocktail. Set aside some extra sprigs of mint - leaves still attached to stems - and dip them in sugar. Use them to garnish your drinks. It's just like adding lace to a cuff!