Muddle a mint julep!

I'm not a big follower of horse-racing, (though my Mum told me once she went into labour with me strolling around the Irish National Stud). Still, I'll get behind nearly any event that calls for cocktails. And since Spring has finally decided to land in Toronto, a refreshing cocktail feels apropos.

Of course, the mint julep is synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, which begins tomorrow. Each year almost 120,000 juleps are served at Churchill Downs over the two day period of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby. So yesterday I came home from work and decided to make myself one. You know me, always the joiner...

Since 2006, Churchill Downs has also served extra-premium custom-made mint juleps at a cost of $1000. These are served in gold-plated cups with silver straws, and are made from Woodford Reserve bourbon, mint imported from Ireland (I always find the Irish connection), ice from the Bavarian Alps, and sugar from Australia.

You need a muddler to make a julep, which is perfect since I sell them in my shop! Here's the recipe I followed, which is a mishmash of a number of variations I researched beforehand. It seems a little heavier on the whiskey than some (and my drink looks darker than the other pictures), but it went down just grand.

- 8-10 mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
- 1 tbsp sugar (I used superfine, +/- to your taste)
- 1.5 oz spring water
- 3 oz Kentucky bourbon (I used Knob Creek)

- Wash the mint leaves and without drying, muddle them with the sugar in a Collins glass
- When they turn to a paste, add the water, then the bourbon and give a good stir
- Top with crushed ice and garnish, serve and place yer bets!

You can get your hands on a one-of-a-kind hand-turned muddler from Coterie; good for juleps, mojitos and any other muddled drink, alcoholic or virgin.
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