Friday, April 30, 2010
The Perfect Mint Julep
1 liter Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Lots of fresh spearmint
First, prepare the mint extract. Gather about 40 small mint leaves, wash them and place them in a small mixing bowl. Cover with 3/4 cup of Maker’s Mark. Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes. Then gather the leaves in a piece of cheesecloth and wring the mint bundle over the bowl of whisky. Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times, then set aside.
Next, prepare the simple syrup. Mix 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Heat to dissolve the sugar. Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool.
To prepare the Mint Julep mixture, pour the remaining Maker’s Mark (about 3-1/2 cups) into a large pitcher. Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the bowl.
Now, begin adding the mint “extract” a tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture. Each batch of mint extract is different, so you must taste and smell after each tablespoon is added. You may even have to leave the room a time or two to clear your nose. The tendency is to use too much mint. You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste – generally about 3 tablespoons total.
When you think the mixture is right, pour the entire quantity back into the empty Maker’s Mark bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to “marry” the flavors.
To serve the Mint Julep, fill each glass (preferably a silver Mint Julep cup) half full with shaved ice. Insert a sprig of mint, and then pack in more ice to about an inch over the top of the cup. Then, insert a straw that has been cut to one inch above the top of the cup so the nose is forced close to the mint when sipping the julep.
When frost forms on the cup, pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice and add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to the top of the ice and serve