So the Kentucky Derby is coming up this weekend, which means that everybody and their brother will be making Mint Juleps. There’s a long and storied history behind the Mint Julep – it’s preparation, and it’s relationship to the Kentucky Derby – on Wikipedia, so I won’t bore you with it here. I’m not going to make a Mint Julep either; it’s too cliché. Instead, we’re going to make an Apple Julep.
Many of my readers from the South will cry sacrilege here, but I find the Apple Julep to be a refreshing and creative adaptation. Don’t yell at me until you’ve tried it!
Here’s what you’re going to need:
2oz Applejack (apple brandy)
1 bar spoon of maple syrup
1 spring of mint for muddling and 3-4 sprigs for garnish
It’s really pretty easy. If you have a silver julep cup (as you can see here), great. If not, a normal rocks glass will do. Pour your bar spoon of maple syrup (the real stuff; none of that fake supermarket syrup) into the bottom of your glass. Add the leaves of one sprig of mint. Press the leaves gently with your muddler to release the oils. (If you have a muddler with teeth on the end, consider using the handle side; you don’t want to crush the mint, or you’ll end up with a bitter drink.)
After you’ve pressed the mint leaves into the syrup, fill the glass with cracked ice. (If you’re working with full ice cubes, use the back of your bar spoon to crack each cube; you want the ice in fairly small pieces here.) Add your 2oz of Applejack, and stir well until a nice frost forms on the outside of your glass. Some of your ice will have melted down, so top off the glass with more ice, and add your 3-4 springs of mint as garnish. The garnish is essential here (as in the Badminton Cup), because you want the fresh mint to act as an aromatic.
The result is a very tasty cocktail, fit for any fan of the Triple Crown.