The Ward 8 is a cocktail with a long history…
Mint Juleps are so refreshing that they are one of my favorite springtime cocktails. This is also because I happen to be a big bourbon fan and am predisposed to liking most bourbon drinks. Another flavor that I really enjoy is vanilla, and both bourbon and vanilla in this twist on a classic julep. Instead of using regular simple syrup as a sweetener, this Vanilla Bean Mint Julep uses vanilla bean-infused simple syrup to add both sweetness and an extra layer of flavor to the drink.
Vanilla bean simple syrup is nothing more than simple syrup that has had a vanilla bean scraped into it. Some companies sell it ready-made, but it is easy to make yourself if you have a vanilla bean and some sugar sitting around. The bean infuses the syrup with flavor and also creates a suspension of the vanilla bean seeds, which add a nice vanilla look to many drinks. I used Rodelle vanilla beans to make my syrup. I like to use it in place of classic simple syrup in just about any recipe to add vanilla’s uniquely floral aroma to a drink.
Glassware: Rocks or Silver Mug
2 oz. Bourbon
3/4 oz. Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup*
8-10 Mint Leaves
Drop the mint leaves into a glass and pour in the vanilla bean 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.
* To make vanilla bean simple syrup, simply scrape a vanilla bean into your water and sugar mixture as you dissolve it on the stovetop. I use 1 vanilla bean to 2 cups of simple syrup. The syrup will be thick enough that the seeds from the vanilla bean will become suspended in it, giving a drink a vanilla bean-flecked look and a vanilla flavor.