Wednesday, April 25, 2007

What I'm Drinking: Mint Juleps

The series staggers on…

I like Mint Juleps a lot—any drink that involves bourbon and leaves is okay by me*—but, because of the legwork involved, they haven't always maintained frequent rotation in our cocktail repertoire. Now, though, the stars have aligned, and all that's changed.

Certainly, the bourbon has never been a problem. We always have a bottle (or two) sitting on the shelf, more than happy to be consumed. And there's always a bottle of simple syrup in the 'fridge.

But crushed ice requires some effort. Don't get me wrong, I'll do what it takes. I'll crank the handle of any persnickety old machine you send my way. I'll wrap the ice in a towel and smack it with a mallet. But our lovely new refrigerator (replacing the equally new but sadly burgled one) miraculously dispenses the stuff with the mere push of a lever. Now, acquiring crushed ice requires no more effort than walking across the kitchen.

And fresh mint always required forethought, remembering to pick some up from the store. This fact above all others relegated the Mint Julep to the status of a special occasion drink. But now, swept in with the frenzied wave of gardening that has engulfed our home, a large and lovely mint plant resides outside our kitchen door. (In a pot. I'm not inclined to eat anything grown in this flood-soaked soil.) So I have as much mint as I need anytime I want.

Now the Mint Julep is in heavy rotation. And it's all quite simple:
  1. Finely tear a good clump of mint into the bottom of a rocks glass.
  2. Add a modest splash (1 TBS) of simple syrup.
  3. "Muddle" the mint and simple syrup. (Mash them together with the back side of a spoon.)
  4. Fill to the rim with crushed ice.
  5. Add a healthy pour of bourbon.
  6. Mix it all together.
  7. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
  8. Drink it in the thickening heat of late spring, pondering the strange majesty of life.

* I'm sure one could construct a counter-example that would prove me wrong, but let's not get sidetracked.

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