Each year on May 30th National Mint Julep day is celebrated in the US, paying homage to the refreshing southern drink.
The Mint Julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since the early 1900s, and for good reason. This drink isn’t just an excuse to bet on horses or wear fancy hats (but please do if you’re so inclined!)
Juleps are loaded with cool, bright, fresh mint, lots and lots of ice, and a little bit of sweetener (typically sugar). Mint, in turn, is loaded with the healing properties of manganese, copper, and vitamin C.
But one of mint’s best qualities is that it has been proven to help with tummy troubles. Mint oils have a relaxing effect on smooth muscles–like the ones in the intestines–which helps to reduce muscles spasms and the indigestion that can often accompany them.
If you needed another reason to celebrate the weekend, this is it! Fancy hat, optional.
Note: Part of the appeal of the mint julep is the frosty glass. To maintain the frost when preparing the drink, try to touch only the upper part of the glass or rim.
10-12 peppermint leaves, plus more for garnish
1 oz simpler syrup (see recipe below)
1.5-2 oz bourbon
Ice, ideally crushed if you can do it
Take 2 of the leaves and rub them on the inside of a short glass or julep cup, if you’ve got one. (Yes, this drink has its own glass!) Add the remaining mint and simpler syrup and muddle it together to release the oils. Fill the glass with ice (ideally crushed) and pour over the bourbon. Stir to combine. This also helps it to chill. Garnish with a bouquet of mint and serve immediately.
1 part honey (can use organic sugar, if you prefer)
1 part water
Note: You can use as much honey and water to make the quantity you like. Simpler syrup will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, but if you only want enough for a couple of drinks use 1 tablespoon of each and follow the method below.
Mix the honey and water together in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Stir until the honey is completely dissolved into the water. If you’re making a very small quantity, mix the hot water and honey in a bowl and just stir until completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.