The Gleeful Gourmand: Well, I Do Declare!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Well, I Do Declare!

I am not a mixologist. I think the most I've ever "mixed" drinks I could count on one hand, and they were all the blender variety. I enjoy it when other people mix me drinks, but my idea of a good drink that I can make myself that isn't wine is a little American Honey on the rocks. Or Bailey's. And that's it.

So, imagine my trepidation when I decided for Father's Day to get Buck something he's been wanting for a while: mint julep cups. And not just any mint julep cups, but cups done in the Virginia design, actually called "The Richmond Cup." I also researched the best bourbon to use in said mint juleps and purchased Buffalo Trace. I was really excited to make this drink for us, and so I did even more research and found out that there are about 15,000 variations on how to make the mint julep. Okay, I made that up. There are only 14,000. Honestly, it seemed to be pretty simple - the hardest part was choosing the right bourbon, or so I thought. And then I got to the part where you have to "muddle" the mint and the sugar together.

Well, I followed the chosen recipe to the letter, and for some reason, it didn't quite turn out the way we remembered. While the bourbon was excellent, it wasn't sweet enough, and we could barely taste the mint. I'm not sure where I went wrong. Maybe it was my muddling. Maybe after feeding babies all the livelong day my wrists have given out and the muddling suffered. Or maybe it was the recipe itself? Who knows. But that's why I'm opening it up to you, dear readers: Do you have a tried and true, no-fail mint julep recipe or technique?Please educate me on this in the comments!

P.S.- The above picture is the actual mint julep I made. Impressed? Yeah, me neither.


Kirsten Oliphant said...

YUM! I am so impressed that you have all these kids and are recovering from having two of them and are learning to make mint juleps! That is one of my favorite drinks, and one I rarely have. I think I've had like two in my lifetime. And they are...amazing. So, props to you for trying it and I'm sure you'll have them perfected by next year's Kentucky Derby. :)

Also, the word verification is "squashic."

Kristen said...

i happen to love mint juleps (thats what happens when your dad lives in louisville during your college years!) and have found that the best way to make them (imo) is to make a minted simple syrup instead of muddling sugar, mint, and club soda (or water as some recipes call for) and then add fresh mint as you are mixing. This allows you to really control the amount of sweetness in your drink as well as have infused the mint flavor into the syrup..... 1 bunch of mint chopped, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, bring to a boil to dissolve sugar, let cool and strain mint. By the way. Buffalo Trace was a great choice. Another one of my favorites is Woodford Reserve

Kristen said...

Also - the syrup will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge so you can make mint juleps as you please!!!

Elizabeth Wilson said...

I totally love mint juleps. One key is crushing the ice. I'm talking about ice in a bag and then bringing a hammer down on them. I am sure Liam would be great at this. -This is coming from someone who doesn't have a fancy fridge that can crush ice, but you do want it to be small. then - I guess the first time I had the mint and sugar muddled - but I simply put mint at the bottom of the glass, throw a nice sprinkling of sugar down (I do like it sweet), then PACK the cup with ice. Put some more sugar at the top and then fill with bourbon to the top. Top off with a mint sprig as you have displayed in your nice photo.

Maybe next time I am in town we can make them a variety of ways and have taste tests!

So glad to see you still having adult fun!

Jenna said...

Thanks for all the suggestions, ladies!! I'm looking forward to trying these different variations out - and anyone who wants to join is welcome! One thing I think I did wrong was using superfine sugar in the muddling rather than granulated. Maybe I should have only used the superfine sugar for make simple syrup? Liz, I agree about the crushed ice - I got it about as crushed as I could, but I also read that shaved ice is great too - but I have no idea how to make that happen.

And adult fun is the only way we're going to get through having a 3 1/2 year old and newborn twins. :) That, and a healthy sense of humor!

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