Last night I managed to get away from work before the rain came. I managed 2.5 miles, with minimal issue. It was a pretty non-eventful run, but I did frighten a groundhog. (Felt a little bad about that. :( )
Today my knee feels a bit tender, but I've been very very lax on doing my leg exercises. Need to get on that. In the end though, I'm definitely feeling better about this ITB, and I'm glad.
And, without further ado, I bring us to today's Alcohol Tuesday entry, the mint julep! It would have been ideal to do this the Tuesday before the Kentucky Derby, but alas, I was out of town. So, after all 3 legs of the triple crown are over, I bring you this entry. Better late than never!
The mint julep is a drink that really isn't that complicated to prepare, yet people are afraid of it. Don't be. I bring you instructions, complete with pictures, to make a killer drink.
Here's what is needed:
We need fresh mint, some extra fine granulated sugar, a little bit of water, ice, and some Kentucky bourbon whiskey. In addition, you'll need either a muddler or a spoon, a cup or glass, and optionally a measuring device such as a jigger.
The cup I use is an old-school traditional mint julep cup. It's pewter. As a side effect (one that is desired), the cup frosts up as it gets cold, due to the ice. If you go to Churchill Downs, you'll get a mint julep in a Collins style glass, just a taller and more narrow glass. Anything works, of course.
As far as bourbon goes, you'll want a Kentucky style, to be authentic. I'll typically opt for Knob Creek or Maker's Mark. Try to stay away from something really dirt cheap.
(One more side note.. You may note the mallet in the picture above. It will come in to play, but may not be necessary for you.. )
First up, take a teaspoon of sugar, and put it in your cup/glass. Then, follow that up with a teaspoon of water, enough to dissolve the sugar. This is the part of the recipe that is "to taste". If you want it sweeter, add a bit more.. less sweet, add less, of course.
You could use something like simple syrup if you have some on hand.
Next up, pull out 4 to 6 mint leaves. Put them into the sugar water, and gently muddle them. You only want to bruise the leaves, not crush them. Bruising the leaves will release some of the oil in the mint.. If you wind up crushing them, you'll pick up some extra flavors that are not becoming to the drink. You can use a muddler for this if you have one, or I just use the back of a spoon.
Stir the bruised leaves around in the sugar-water solution and let them sit for a few minutes, letting the flavor seep out.
Next up is the ice. You're going to want to use crushed ice for this drink. While I absolutely love my fridge, the one thing it can't do is make crushed ice. Hence, the need for a mallet.
After banging away on the counter for a bit, you'll be left with some crushed ice:
Crude, but effective.
OK. So you fill your cup with the crushed ice. Pour a jigger (1.5 to 2 ounces) of bourbon in the cup. You'll note that this settles and melts the ice a bit. You'll want to top the cup with some more ice.
Finish this off by retopping the cup with bourbon, garnish with a sprig of mint, and you're good to go!
That spoon I included in my julep is peer with my cup. It actually serves as both a straw and a spoon, as the handle is hollow. Really killer. So you can sip, stir, and have something fun, all in one. :)
Alright everyone, that's all for today.. Enjoy responsibly, and keep on rockin'!