“….that the mounds of ices, and the bowls of mint-julep and sherry cobbler they make in these latitudes, are refreshments never to be thought of afterwards, in summer, by those who would preserve contented minds’ – Charles Dickens
I heard about Mint Juleps from a friend. I was fascinated with the name and I always thought this to be some kind of mint based lemonade. I never bothered to ask him though what was in the drink mainly because, I was not so much into mixing cocktails back then. Just in the recent past, I came to know that, Mint Julep is not a minty lemonade. It’s a delicious Bourbon drink instead.
Now he would probably think that, I’m committing a massive cocktail crime by adding berries into this classic cocktail, but, in my defense, the berries make this cocktail insanely delicious.
The secret to this drink is crushed ice. You have to have crushed ice. I crushed my ice with Vitamix.., You can use any blender to crush the ice and most refrigerators these days also crush ice.
So, all you need is – lots of crushed ice, a simple syrup (water and sugar mixture) and bourbon. Don’t worry about berries if you don’t want to use any.
So what does the word “julep” mean? It got a nice ring to it, no? The word comes from the Persian “gulab,” which means “rose-water.” Over the centuries, people started replacing rose water with mint.
Mint Juleps are the official drinks of Kentucky Derby. Like champagne is for New Year Eve, Mint Julep is for Kentucky Derby. The Kentucky Derby began serving this drink in 1938 and now pours more than 100,000 of them on the race weekend.
What I always believe is that, you should play around until you find your preferred cocktail. If you are looking for some more summer cocktails –
- Handful of mint leaves
- 2 oz. mixed berry syrup (See Notes below)
- 4 oz. bourbon
- Lots of crushed Ice
To Make Mixed Berry Simple Syrup
- Boil 1/3 cup mixed berries with 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar. Once the berries are softened, mash them roughly.
Mixed Berry Mint Julep
- Put the mint in a cup and muddle it by pressing it gently against the sides and bottom of the cup for a few seconds. DO NOT MASH THE MINT. All we want is just to release the mint’s oils.
- Add the mixed berry simple syrup.
- Fill the cup with crushed ice and add the bourbon. Stir gently for 30 seconds or so, until frost forms on the side of the drink.
- Add more ice if needed.
- You don’t have to make Mixed Berry Syrup. It’s entirely optional. Just go for simple syrup instead by boiling 1/3 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water together until the sugar dissolves.
- You don’t have to use mint julep glasses that I have used here. Use Collins glasses instead if you don’t have these glasses available.