Mint Juleps are the official drink of the Kentucky Derby and just one of the many reasons that people look forward to race day. It’s a very simple cocktail made with bourbon, simple syrup and mint that is very refreshing. Simple syrup isn’t the only sweetener you can use in a julep. I am a big maple syrup fan and often use maple syrup to add a little extra layer of flavor to my juleps. Maple blends extremely well with bourbon, enhancing the caramel notes of the spirit and tempering some of the oak. It may not be traditional, but it is a tradition that is worth starting.
This is a strong cocktail served in a large glass and designed to be sipped over a long period of time. You can scale down the bourbon a bit if you’re using a smaller glass, and you can scale up the maple syrup slightly if, like me, you have a bit of a sweet tooth.
3 oz. Bourbon
1/2 oz. Maple Syrup
8-12 Mint Leaves
Drop the mint leaves into a glass and pour in the maple syrup. Gently muddle. Add the bourbon and give it a brief stir to mix the ingredients. Fill the glass with crushed ice and garnish with a bunch of mint.
*When you gather the mint slap it against the palm of your hand a couple of time before you garnish the drink to release all of its minty aroma.