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How to Make a Mint Julep aka Bourbon Smash

Learn how to make a Mint Julep aka Bourbon Smash in this Howcast video about how to make cocktails. Muddle 8-10 mint leaves in .5 oz simple syrup. Add 2.5 oz bourbon. Top with ice. Stir. Garnsih lavishly with mint sprig.


Your probably very well acquainted with the Mint Julep if you've ever been to a Kentucky Derby party, and if you've been to more than one Kentucky Derby party, you've probably noticed that those Mint Juleps tend to vary quite a great deal in terms of quality. I'm going to show you how to make an amazing Mint Julep and the key, as is with all things cocktail, is fresh ingredients. So that means fresh mint. None of this mint-flavored mix, none of that stuff.

You want fresh, real mint, the fresher the better. So I already picked about I don't know, 10 to 12 leaves, a pinch, a bunch, a bunch of mint. We're going to put this into our silver plated Julep cup. This is a traditional Julep cup, back in the 19th century. I mean it wasn't made in the 19th century, but it's a replica of that. You can use a rocks glass or you know any short glass you have around, but if you happen to get your hands on one of these, do it.

Okay, so we've got our mint. All we need to make a Mint Julep is sugar, bourbon and ice, that's it, no citrus. So since there's no citrus, we want to make sure that there's not too much sugar. So here's our simple syrup, one to one sugar water, and do about half an ounce on my small jigger. And now we're going to muddle the mint. Now muddling does not mean pulverizing, especially with mint. This stuff is really delicate. You don't have to go too hard.

All you need to do is gently press the mint. You're not trying to crush it. You're just trying to extract the oils and you'll know that you've done your work when you can-- um, so good. I probably don't even need to tell you what it smells like. But when you can smell that fresh mint, you know you've muddled it enough. If it starts to smell kind of grassy, that means you've muddle it too hard, and released all those bitter tannin's, which you don't want.

So gently muddle the mint and now we're going to do two ounces of bourbon. And since there are so few ingredients in this cocktail, I would go with a higher quality bourbon. You know this drink is really potent, I'm going to do two and a half ounces, I just decided that. You don't need to skimp on the booze. Again, quality ingredients make quality cocktails. The last thing we need is our ice, and ice is almost more important in a Mint Julep, than it is with other cocktails.

Because if you've seen those Mint Julep's that kind of look like snow cones with the crushed ice, if you happen to be able to get your hands on one of these, this is a hand-crank, and old school hand-crank, ice crusher. It will make perfect little pellets of ice. I'm lucky enough to get my hands on one. You can get them for $30 on eBay, and it's totally worth it.

A little extra effort, but you'll be relaxing in a minute, so you can afford to exercise those biceps a little bit. Okay, now if you don't have one of these, which I suspect that you don't, it's fine just to use smaller ice. You just don't want anything too big, because the smaller the ice is the faster it'll melt, the colder the drink will get, and the more dilution here you'll get.

This drink is so potent that a little dilution is good, because it'll be too strong otherwise or you can always just use a spoon and crack the ice in your hand to make it small, but a little more effort. Ah, see that? Isn't that beautiful? Now I'm just going to take a bar spoon and gently mix this, so it gets all integrated and you see that frost developing on the glass there? That's what you want. That's all you need to do.

There's no shaking or stirring, so it makes that extra effort worth it with the hand-crank juicer. Okay, now for the garnish. If you've got extra mint around or maybe a mint in the garden or something, you can't skimp on it. Get a nice two big sprigs and jam them in there and this drink definitely needs a straw. There you go, the perfect, Mint Julep.

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