A few months ago (and with lots of help from RLK) I started growing my own mint plants! Man that’s exciting! You may think I’m kidding, but really it is rewarding to prepare a drink which you actually grew the ingredients for. You really can’t beat the quality of the freshness that comes from the mint leaves–they’re literally fresh off the vine. And, best of all, they’re free! This week I tried a Mint Julep for the first time.
As you can see, my plants are coming along pretty nicely right now. First, I pulled a few leaves (3-4 per drink) from the healthiest plant, and placed them in a stainless steel shaker tin. The drink tools I have are part of a basic bar set that you can get many places for about thirty bucks. Look for me to describe mine in full detail in the Tools section. I muddled the leaves with a bit of ordinary sugar, as the sugar is abrasive and helps to cut the leaves, releasing more of their flavor.
Next, I added a simple sugar (1 part ordinary sugar and 1 part water, boiled over heat on the stove and usually served through a squeeze bottle), a few ice cubes and some Evan Williams Bourbon Whiskey. I strained this into a rocks glass and added one last full leaf for looks. The final result was sweet and refreshing. This one to me is a great easy summer drink.
I think next time I’ll really need to address the small floating crushed mint leaves that escape the shaker and end up in the final drink. They provide additional flavor, but aren’t visually pleasing to me. With many of these drinks being simple, visual presentation counts for much of the final product. I’ve seen mojitos (but not yet juleps) at bars with lots of full mint leaves left right in the served glass, but I’m not sure if that would be best here too.
I can see this becoming a trusted fall-back drink for me to make because it’s so straight-forward and still tasty. Cheers!