When Spring arrives, my palate reaches out for drinks that deepen my relationship to brown spirits. But a dent often pops up in the periphery and that should be a drink that makes you smile instead of frown.
That drink would be the Mint Julep. Rumor has it that the mint julep was devised in that stinking swamp, Washington, DC. Dueling pistols were the rage, and the combination of strong liquor and stronger tempers would flare into certain malaise. But I digress in saying that a well-made mint julep is a thing of rare beauty. But a bad one? It’s up to you to make it right the first time. No excuses.
Classic Mint Julep
- 4 oz. Bourbon or Rye
- 1 oz. Simple or granulated dark sugar like turbinado or
- Fresh mint well washed
- Muddle the mint in a julep cup
- Add sugar and bourbon or rye
- Muddle lightly, add ice, more mint, more bourbon
Roasted Peach Julep
- 4 oz. rye whiskey
- Fresh Mint, Well Washed
- 2 Tablespoons of Orange Marmalade
- Roast de-stoned peaches covered in Angostura and Demerara Sugar for 1 hour at 300, cool
- Roasted peach halves
- Muddle the Orange marmalade with the Rye and the Peach half
- Add ice to the glass, top with more rye.
- Garnish with another slice of caramelized peach and serve!
One of the best mint juleps I’ve ever enjoyed took a bit of doing but at the end, the results are magnificent indeed. It takes a couple of steps. Here they are:
First you want to make your own dehydrated oranges. You would slice oranges really thinly and put them in a very slow oven, say 200 degrees, for over-night. You can preserve them in a vat of rum, or bourbon, or even rye. They will last forever- or until you use them.
Next, you’ll want to make your own simple syrup from Demerara Sugar. It’s got a nice funk to it. I make this sugar extra dark. Almost caramelized.
The next thing is a nice hand-cut rock of ice. It doesn’t have to be clear, but if you cut it in front of your guest, well not to bore you with minute details, but this is important. Start watching the Japanese mixology and ice cutting videos. Learn the details and emulate them!
The next thing you need to do is have a nice selection of hand cut crystal glasses that you bought at a garage sale. They should be really unique, as this drink is unique.
Stirred Whiskey Punch
- 2-3 oz. Rye Whiskey of your choice
- Dehydrated oranges
- Spray of Absinthe
- Dot of Peychaud’s Bitters
- ¼ oz. Demerara simple
- Rub the inside of the rocks glass with a fresh orange zest
- Spray the inside of the glass with a spritz of absinthe
- Drop a couple drops of Peychaud’s into the glass
- Add the hand cut rock of ice
- Add the dehydrated orange slice and the mint (slapped)
- Pour about 2-3 oz. of your favorite whiskey over the top
- Pour ¼ oz of the dark simple over that and stir vigorously to mix.
- A milk punch should round out the blend with this one touched by a mint liqueur. It’s easy to do!
Minted Milk Punch
- 4 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
- 2 oz. Brewed Minted Tea (sweetened to taste)
- 3 oz. Heavy cream
- 1 oz. ½ and ½
- 1 oz. Whole milk
- 1 oz. Pure vanilla
- 2 oz. Mint Liqueur like Bols
- Boston Shaker filled ¾ with ice
- Add all the liquid ingredients to the Boston Shaker
- Cap and shake hard
- Pour into a tall glass with a sprig of fresh mint as a garnish