I have a feeling that people from Kentucky will have some not-so-kind words for me after this post, because I think I’m about to completely bastardize the classic mint julep that they know and love. But I’m moving forward with reckless abandon because I’m come up with something totally delicious, and I feel as though I need to share it with the world.
First, I’m gonna get a little fancy with it. Instead of the traditional simple syrup, I came up with a mint-basil-ginger simple syrup that is pretty fantastic and probably useful in all kinds of ways. Combine this stuff with some barbecue sauce for an amazing baby back rib glaze?! I think yes. Also, I’ve been watching a lot of Arrested Development lately.
But I digress. Here’s how to get the job done:
Mint-Basil-Ginger Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup ginger soda syrup (optional)
It’s kind of up to you on how crazy you want to go with the mint and basil. I used about 12 leaves of each, but I think I’d use more next time to really amp up the mint and basil flavor. Also, the ginger syrup is optional – it’s delicious without it, but definitely adds a little flair.
First, muddle the mint and basil. Don’t skip this step, as it gets all of the oils out of the leaves and allows them to really flavor the syrup.
Next, make up your simple syrup. In case you’ve never done this before, it’s super easy – just take equal parts water and white sugar, put them in a pot over a low heat and stir until all of the sugar dissolves. Very important that the heat is low so that the sugar doesn’t burn.
Throw your muddled mint and basil in the pot over that same low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take it off the heat, allow the mixture to cool, and then pop it in the fridge in a sealed container for about 24 hours. Finally, once you’ve let it sit, filter it through a fine mesh filter (I used my French press), and you’re done!
Now that you’ve done the hard work and been patient, allowing all of the mint and basil to infuse, it’s time to make that drink! Let me state again – this is pretty far from a traditional mint julep, and I may just post a more traditional recipe soon. But it’s one of my favorite drinks I’ve made in a while, so I’m not ashamed, dammit! Anyway, here it is.
*3 parts bourbon (I used Woodford Reserve – it’s one my personal favorites)
*1 part Domain de Canton
*3 parts seltzer (I used lemon-lime seltzer, put plain should also work just fine)
*2 parts grapefruit juice (make sure it’s fancy – the crappy stuff will ruin a drink)
*1 part Mint-Basil-Ginger Simple Syrup
With the lime juice, it’s kind of up to you. I used quite a bit – it really helps to balance the sweetness of the simple syrup which, while totally delicious, can overpower the drink just a bit.
That’s it! It really is excellent if you’re willing to put in a little bit of work.
So I’m outta here – but I’ll be back after the holiday weekend with some new deliciousness. I’m currently cold-brewing coffee – which is surprisingly easy – so I’ll let you guys know how that goes. But for now, see ya soon!
P.S. From time to time, I might start recommending some new music that I’m really into. Today’s current obsession is Wim. These Aussies have just come out with a new album, and I think it’s pretty fantastic. There’s definitely a little bit of Radiohead influence there, and people seem to be saying that they sound like “if Rufus Wainwright was the frontman for Grizzly Bear.” It’s a pretty fair assessment, but that’s not to say that the album isn’t original and entirely listenable. It’s also extremely varied, so it keeps you on your toes a little. Anyway, highly recommended – it’s on repeat right now and I’m not tired of it, so I assume that’s a good thing. Until next time!