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Happy National Mint Julep Day and a Love Letter to one of my Favorite Herbs!
“Oh, fair Mint! How sweetly your fragrance fills the air, and how your leaves do soothe my troubled soul. You are an herb of great renown, and your healing properties are known far and wide. You have the ability to cool my stomach and calm my nerves. You are the very essence of freshness, and your taste is like a kiss from the heavens, a cooling breeze on a hot summers day.
Oh, Mint! You are the perfect companion to my iced sweet tea, and the perfect addition to my cocktails. You are a wondrous accompaniment to my tea sandwiches and scones and the perfect addition to my roasted leg of lamb. You are one of my herbal soulmates, and I am forever enamored by your charms.
Oh, fair Mint! I shall forever cherish thee. For you are the very essence of nature's wild and expressive bounty, and I am forever grateful for your presence in my garden. Oh, Mint! How sweet your love does taste!
May your leaves forever grace my garden, and may your essence forever fill my kitchen with joy. For you are a treasure beyond measure, and I am forever blessed to have you in my life.” BSG
A love poem to my mint, written this morning while drinking a cup of hot spearmint tea!
I love mint. As a child we had plenty of it in our gardens and I was always trying to plant more, much to my fathers dismay. When I grew older with gardens of my own I learned why…Mint of any variety is a delightful escape artist, so really it’s best to plant this easy to grow herb in a container and even then you have to watch it, it’s a very slippery slope when it comes to mint. One stem left on the ground at the right moment can easily root, and then you’ll have it everywhere for the rest of your life. You can’t kill it.
All of these pictures are mints I’m currently growing. I’m pretty infatuated with them. I’ll use them all summer sprinkled on salads, sweet corn, cantaloupe, fresh tomatoes with burrata cheese and of course in syrups and teas! The syrup recipe below can be used not just for mint juleps, but as a drizzle on ice cream or fresh melon. I know that you’ll come up with plenty of uses for it yourself so I hope that you’ll share them with me.
I love Mint Juleps! I'm one of those horsey girls with a deep appreciation of all of the traditions that go along with growing up in the saddle and the Mint Julep cocktail is definitely one of them! Basically the Mint Julep is a grown up shaved ice that’s simply infused with mint syrup and bourbon. It’s a simple cocktail and completely delicious.
Because I am so horse crazy (my cousin's nickname for me was "horse") only Blanton's Bourbon, with the cute pewter horse on the stopper will do! Blanton’s has a lovely smoky flavor, laced with burnt caramel that is absolutely luscious with the mint and sugar!
I have one other requirement for my Mint Juleps and that is that they MUST be served in a proper Julep cup. It can be silverplate, sterling, copper or pewter, but a metal cup is a must because it keeps this cocktail colder longer. Also, the metallic tinge of the glass provides a delightful top note to the drink , a bit like what a touch of jasmine does to a predominantly rose perfume. Please trust me on this one!
I wish that I could take credit for this recipe, but this is the classic Julep recipe from Southern Living Magazine. It is simply the best version that I've found. To start, you must make a simple mint syrup which is very easy. The only liberty I’ve taken is with the sweetener for the syrup. I use honey instead of sugar, but if you’d rather use sugar about a cup will do. Spearmint is really the most classic and best of the mints for this particular cocktail.
Take a cup of water and a cup and a half of honey and bring it to a boil stirring often until the honey is dissolved. Remove from the heat, add about 12 fresh sprigs of spearmint and refrigerate for 24 hours in a jar with a lid. Remove the mint after the infusing period and you are ready to go!
3 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon simple mint syrup- You can use more if you like.
1 to 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) bourbon
One 4-inch cocktail straw or coffee stirrer
fresh mint sprig
Powdered sugar (optional)
Place mint leaves and Mint Simple Syrup in a chilled julep cup. Gently press leaves against cup with back of spoon to release flavors. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice; pour bourbon over ice. Insert straw, place mint sprig directly next to straw, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
It's that simple !
Mint Juleps are amazing stirred and served with good friends and horses in the dead of summer, The Hunter Trials in autumn, and always with homemade cheese straws and ham and chive biscuits!