The Mint Julep is considered the signature cocktail for The Kentucky Derby and this Strawberry Mint Julep Cocktail is a fantastic sipper all summer long!
This coming weekend is always a struggle for me; do I feature something for The Kentucky Derby or should it be a nod to Cinco de Mayo which is a pretty big deal in some parts of Denver. Well, this week I did both. Catch my recipe for Orejas; a delicious and easy pastry that might be best know to you as Palmiers or Elephant Ears. They’re a part of a monthly theme I do with a group of friends and this month is was all inspired by food from Mexico.
So today it’s all about the Mint Julep. I would normally try to post a bit sooner than a day before an event but two things that are important to remember.
Why Mint Juleps are One of My Favorite Cocktails – They’re SO easy to Make!
- They really are easy to make and they use simple ingredients; bourbon, sugar, mint, and fruit. Easy enough to pull together right?
- Don’t limit your Mint Julep sipping to one day; these are great for a summer afternoon of lazing about and doing not much of anything. Fruit or no fruit!
They really are easy too. A plain Mint Julep is nothing more than bourbon, mint, sugar, and ice. That’s why I love adding fruit to them; it’s a great recipe that can work with so many variations I’ve listed some of my favorites below; heck, give them all a try!
I do use a muddler tool to smash the fruit and mint but if you don’t have one, a masher will do…potato masher or ice smasher, both work. What is an ice smasher? Probably known more commonly as a meat tenderizer tool, it’s normally used to flatten beef or chicken before cooking but I also use mine to mash potatoes and smash ice and I’m sure it would muddle too!
I did this batch in a small cocktail pitcher because we can see what’s in there but I would normally just muddle right in individual glasses…whatever works best for you. You smash the berries, add the bourbon and mint and lightly brush the mint to release more oils…and flavor.
While today has been a nonstop blend of overcast with some sun, doesn’t this make you think of warm summer days? I love that strawberries are showing up in the market that are a beautiful red and they’re ripe and luscious. They were the perfect addition to this simple cocktail.
Do you watch the Kentucky Derby? I have built a tradition in my home for avid or non avid viewers. Show up 15 minutes before the race, chat with neighbors, kids included. Watch the race which is over in minutes, chat a bit more and then go back about your Saturday business. It’s short but sweet and everyone enjoys the break in the Saturday routine that is usually chores! This Saturday it’s my friend Sam’s birthday so I’ll have cake!
Nothing fancy, it lasts a whole half hour but I get to try out my latest, the Strawberry Mint Julep Cocktail and we all get a bit of a break. No betting; I’ve NEVER done well with that so I’m not starting now. Try it, you might like it too…a truly quick and dirty party.
PIN ‘Strawberry Mint Julep Cocktail’
- 4 teaspoons simple syrup (See Notes)
- 6 large strawberries, hulled cut into fourths
- 15 mint leaves, torn by hand
- 4 ozs bourbon)
- Crushed ice, 1 - 1 /1/2 cups depending on how large your glasses are
- 2mint sprigs
- 2 whole strawberries, cut in half from bottom to top leaving top part of stem intact
- Pour the simple syrup into a mint julep or rocks glass.
- Add the strawberries and muddle until the strawberries look pureed.
- Add the torn mint leaves and gently muddle just until the leaves are bruised.
- Add half of the bourbon and fill the glasses halfway with crushed ice. Stir to combine.
- Top the glasses with more crushed ice mounded on top. Garnish with the mint and strawberry.
- Pour the remainder of the bourbon equally over the ice in the glasses and serve, with or without a straw.
For the Simple Syrup:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Combine sugar and water in small saucepan; bring to boil and then turn down heat to simmer. Simmer just until all the sugar has melted.
- Remove from heat, pour into a container and refrigerate until cold.
This is a potent little cocktail meant for sipping so small glasses are fine. If you don't have mint julep cups, try a small lowball cocktail glass.