We didn’t need the Grinder to tell us that mint juleps are what one drinks on Kentucky Derby Day, but we did sort of need them to remind us that this Saturday is the big day and we’d better get the ice crushed, the bourbon laid in, the mint plucked, and the glasses painted silver.
The iconic Southern cocktail really has no equal, including the trendy mojitos that have been nipping at its heels the last few years. As the Plumparty catalogue copy states next to the $72 four-pack of traditional silver glasses, “the mint julep is more than a beverage, it is a ceremony steeped in tradition and an emblem of Southern hospitality and heritage.”
Well, we won’t judge you if you use glassware for your juleps. The important thing is that you’re using good bourbon, fresh mint and the right recipe. To that end, the Churchill Downs website offers this concoction, which calls for the use of Early Times, a whiskey we usually see relegated to the well.
Early Times Mint Julep
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 cups water
* Sprigs of fresh mint
* Crushed ice
* Early Times Kentucky Whisky
* Silver Julep Cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whiskey. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
And you’re off!