Gin may be the Spirit of Summer, but Bourbon is the Spirit of Fall. With the color of autumn leaves and a warm taste, a nice Bourbon cocktail on a fall evening really hits the spot.
You could use any Bourbon you like. The more popular brands like Jack Daniels and Jim Beam are always safe but tend to be on the pricey side. I picked up this bottle of Samuel Grant Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (is the name long enough for ya?) at Albertson’s in Los Lunas on sale for $8.99. It turned out to be quite good and just goes to show that it is not necessary to break the bank in order to mix excellent cocktails.
With regard to the Ginger Ale, I highly recommend a premium brand such as Reed’s… so much more Ginger-licious than the common brands.
Our Tai Chi friends invited us over for drinks last Sunday, so obviously we accepted.
They wanted to have a Mint Julep party and, even though I worked as a bartender in Las Vegas for three years, I managed never to make or drink one of these fancy concoctions so naturally I had to learn all about it.
The first step in making an excellent Mint Julep is to grab a handful of fresh mint from the garden.
In a glass, or mason jar, add several mint leaves and a teaspoon of sugar. Using a spoon or other blunt implement, muddle the mint leaves and the sugar. This will tear the mint leaves a bit and release more mint flavor.
Next, add several ice cubes and one shot of Bourbon. Maker’s Mark is a nice choice.
This is a southern style Mint Julep so do not add any additional water. I suppose if you had a stainless steel drink shaker you could actually do all of this in the shaker, and then shake to facilitate the melting of the ice before pouring the whole thing into a glass but, in the absence of a shaker, mixing it directly in the glass is fine too. The melting ice becomes the water that dilutes the bourbon so it takes longer to end up face down on the table.
Mint Juleps are a commodity of a hot summer afternoon so enjoy slowly. 🙂
As a post script, our Tai Chi friends also have a flock of Guinea Fowl to make sure that they never over sleep… ever.