It's a good weekend if you wanna do some day drinking. I won't be, as air-powered nails guns and alcohol are not a good combo, unlike the pretzel and pizza flavor. But I sure will be looking forward to one (or two) of these when I'm done putting in the new hardwood floors. I'd say a good 10% of the mint grown in the garden is muddled in bourbon drinks. After a Saturday's hard house/yard work in the summer, standard protocol is an old-fashioned glass filled with ice, 2 ounces of good bourbon, a shake of Peychaud's bitters, a couple mint sprigs smashed in the palm, retreat to the back deck and enjoy 20 minutes of peaceful cocktail time.
This weekend though, you need to fancy up that drink for the most famous race involving small grown men riding horses in a big circle as they whip them to entice the animals to speed up. I enjoy the local racetrack on a warm sunny day, I just wish I knew more about betting. Usually, I go with the trifecta and whichever horse takes the biggest dump before the race is my bet to win. It's all about physics from my scientific perspective.
The Mint Julep
serves 1, increase as needed
First you need to make a simple syrup, which is equal parts sugar and water. I'd start with a cup of each, depending on how many you are serving. Any leftover will keep for future cocktails. Warm up the water on the stovetop, microwave, or campfire, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add a couple inches of lemon zest and cool completely.
In an old-fashioned or highball glass, muddle about 6 medium leaves of mint with a muddler or wooden spoon. Fill with good, large ice cubes. (traditionally, use crushed ice, but I simply serve on the rocks, your choice) Pour in one half ounce of simple syrup and two ounces of your preferred bourbon. Stir well and garnish with a sprig or two of mint. Good luck with your bets!