The Perfect Mint Julep

With the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, I thought it would be fun to break down the key ingredients and tools one needs to make the perfect Mint Julep.

Recipe:
In a Julep cup, pour one ounce minted, simple syrup and 2 oz. bourbon. Fill glass half full with crushed ice, stir, then fill glass full with ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Enjoy.

Mint Julep Cup - traditionally, this is a silver-plate, footed tumbler, yet I found a gorgeous hammered stainless steel tumbler that works perfect. The metal helps keep the drink colder, longer - available at Williams-Sonoma, $14.95: http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/hammered-tumbler/?pkey=e%7Chammered%2Btumbler%7C1%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-NoMerchRules

Ice - Crushed Ice is essential, not ice cubes and definitely not shaved ice. I've got you covered on the equipment side depending on your entertaining needs.

If you are a coupla cocktails kind of person, then the hand-powered, Ice Crusher by Rabbit is ideal. The vessel holds enough for one drink, and under the lid it shows you which direction to turn the crank for large or small crushed ice. Available at www.MetroKane.com, $45 www.metrokane.com/product/68/rabbit-retro-ice-crusher.aspx

If you are a 'let's get this party started' kind of person, then the Waring Pro Ice crusher will keep your party going for hours and hours. Crushes up to 50 pounds of ice per hour and the vessel holds up to 12 c. of ice. Simply toss ice in the feeding tube and it shoots out into the holding container. Available at www.WaringPro.com, $79.95: www.waringpro.com/catalog.php?pcID=131_134&product_id=504

Mint Syrup - There are many variations on how to add the sugar and mint to your Mint Julep, I prefer a minted simple syrup. Combine 1.5 c. water, 1 c. sugar and 2 sprigs mint in a small sauce pan - bring to a boil, remove from heat and allow to cool. Pour into a covered container and keep in the refrigerator.

Woodford Reserve Bourbon - The Bourbon makes all the difference, and Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon will make your Mint Julep the talk of the town. Woodford Reserve isn't manufactured, it's crafted in small batches. This brilliant, honey amber bourbon is offered at 90.4 proof and tastes like citrus, with cinnamon and cocoa. www.WoodfordReserve.com, $50

Woodford Reserve Double Oakes Bourbon - An innovative approach to twice-barreled bourbon creates the rich and colorful flavor of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. Uniquely matured in separate, charred oak barrels - the second barrel deeply toasted before a light charring - extracts additional amounts of soft, sweet oak character. This deep amber bourbon is offered at 90.4 proof and tastes like vanilla, with dark caramel, hazelnut, apples and spices. www.WoodfordReserve.com, $56


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