Mint Julep

Mint Julep is a traditional Southern drink that accounted for much of the ice-shipping business in the old days. Ice was brought down the Mississippi River on flatboats from colder climates and then stored in specially insulated icehouses in the city of New Orleans. By the end of the summer there was generally not a sliver to be had, no matter what one was willing to pay.

For me, I think of Mint Julep on Kentucky Derby Day where the best race horses in the world will be off and running on Saturday, May 7 for the 131 Kentucky Derby.

Bellamy Road , a horse owned by Yankee boss George Steinbrenner, is considered the favorite; however, the race is not over until it's over. I like Bellamy Road , but Steinbrenner is nothing to write home about.

1-1/2 oz. bourbon

3 to 4 sprigs fresh mint

2 teaspoons syrup (recipe below)

4 oz. cracked ice

Combine all the ingredients in a tall highball glass and mix vigorously with a cocktail spoon until the outside of the glass becomes frosted. Put an extra sprig of mint on top before serving.

Simple Syrup
This is good for adding sweetness to teas and coffees

1 cup white sugar

2 cups water

Place the water and sugar in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and watch as the sugar dissolves. Stirring is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.

Remove the syrup from heat and let it cool to room temperature. If you would like to flavor the syrup with alcohols like rum or amaretto, add the alcohol after the syrup has cooled to room temperature.

Some cooks choose to add flavoring to their simple syrups. The correct time to add flavoring is before the water comes to a boil. A few suggestions for flavored syrups: substituting orange juice for water will yield an orange flavored syrup, watermelon juice will yield a watermelon flavored syrup, and an addition of vanilla beans will yield a flavorful syrup that is excellent when stirred into brewed coffee.

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