Do you hear that sound? That is the sound of one of the greatest sporting events of all time. In case you didn’t really catch it the sound is of a horse race, the event I am referring to is the Kentucky Derby of course. I had an entirely different post planned for today and then I remembered that the derby was fast approaching and it would be a great opportunity to share with you one of my favorite cocktails. First let’s talk some more about the derby shall we. The derby is my kind of event, smartly dressed men and women sipping on cool beverages, testing their odds with lady luck, hoping that they might actually pick the wining horse and in turn return home just a little more flush than when they arrived. The boho side of me doesn’t completely agree with the whole horse racing institution but the preppy pink and green closeted Southern belle in me thinks it’s just the cat’s meow. My husband has an uncle who lives in Louisville, KY and every year I say I’m going to the Derby and yet after almost 10 years of marriage we have yet to make it there, but I’m convinced that one day I’ll be there clad in some fabulous hat enjoying the company of family and friends at my very own derby party. A derby party totally fits the Sunday Dinner lifestyle…so today I declare that if next year I don’t make it to Louisville I’ll be having my own little derby party, fancy hats and all and consider yourself invited.
Now on to the drink…
The title of this blog post comes from one of the classic drinking songs of the 1940’s and 50’s first recorded by a group called “The Clovers” but made must popular by the legendary Ray Charles. “One Mint Julep” tells the story of a gentleman who met a girl during a night out on the town, he had one mint julep things went a little too far and he was forced to marry her by her father. He jokes that “one mint julep was the cause of it all” meaning the drink hit him like a ton of bricks causing him to behave a little out of character and in turn ended his reign as a ladies man. Sounds silly I know but just go to youtube and give it a listen, but be warned it’s catchy.
My reason for loving mint juleps is quite simple, it contains two of my favorite things, Bourbon and fresh mint. Those that know me well will tell you I can find any and every excuse to imbibe in the brown stuff (I did say I was a closeted southern belle right?). The combination of well aged bourbon smooth and rich mellowed with the freshness of mint and sweetened lightly with a little simple syrup is the thing of cocktail dreams, and for me screams the beginning of front porch conversations with good friends or warm summer nights around my soon to be built fire pit. The recipe listed below is a variation on the classic, instead of your standard spearmint I’m using chocolate mint, a member of the mint family that has a natural chocolate flavor which takes this beverage to a whole new level, I’m talking get up and do a little hip shake kind of level…enjoy!
Chocolate Mint Julep
- 1 oz simple syrup or 1/2 oz of agave syrup
- 2 oz bourbon (I’m currently digging Woodford Reserve)
- 2 bunches of chocolate mint
- 1/2 oz of godiva liquor (optional)
Place one bunch of mint (leave only) in the bottom of a mixing glass, add simple syrup and using a muddler gently pat the mint leaves to release its flavor. Add the bourbon, godiva liquor and a handful of crushed ice. Stir well to combine, transfer to your fancy tin cup and garnish with the other bunch of mint.