With the Kentucky Derby around the corner, it’s time to cheers with the famed bourbon cocktail, the Mint Julep. With a balance of sweet, smoky, and herbal flavors, the Mint Julep has been the traditional cocktail of the Kentucky Derby for almost a century. Each year, nearly 120,000 mint juleps are served over the two-day weekend of the Kentucky Derby horse races at Churchill Downs racetrack. That equates to more than 10,000 bottles of bourbon, 1000 pounds of fresh mint, and 60,000 pounds of ice!
Drinks that are this legendary can sometimes seem difficult to make, but the recipe is actually very easy and requires just a few key ingredients.
Mint Simple Syrup
· 1 cup of water
· 1 cup of granulated sugar
· 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh mint
· 2 ounces of bourbon
· 1 ounce of simple syrup
· 2-3 sprigs of fresh mint, leaves removed from one stem
· Crushed ice
· Mint sprig, for garnish
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together and stirring for about five minutes. Immediately remove the pot from the heat. Add about five sprigs of fresh mint. Cover and cool. Remove the mint and refrigerate overnight. Can be stored for up to three weeks.
· Pluck the mint leaves off of one sprig and place them in the bottom of your glass.
· Pour in the simple syrup.
· Muddle the leaves and syrup.
· Add the bourbon to the glass
· Fill glass with crushed ice.
· Stir the cocktail until the glass frosts.
· Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Nate Wilson has been a premier bartender and mixologist in Las Vegas for more than 20 years. He has thrived at fine dining restaurants on the Strip, graced personal catering experiences, and been named employee of the year multiple times by major casino-hotels for his creativity, attention to detail, and exquisite customer service. Currently, Nate attends to the bar scenes at Vegas’ most exclusive neighborhood, The Summit Club and its golf course, and at the best new restaurant on the Strip, The Bedford by Martha Stewart.