When the fine folks at Southern Living contacted me with an AMAZING mint julep recipe to celebrate all things for the Kentucky Derby from their new cookbook Feel Good Food, I couldn't resist sharing with y'all. Even better, they have a fun and festive idea of setting up your very own mint julep bar for your party guests, which I love!
Apparently I went to the Derby as a young one, but don't remember so that is something Jeff and I definitely want to cross off our to-do list in the next few years...the hats, the dresses, the racing-OH MY! It sounds like way too much fun and a great way to spend the 1st weekend in May.
Given the fact the running of the Kentucky Derby is this weekend, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to post this recipe in case anyone is hosting a big celebration for the greatest two minutes in the sports world...
The recipe for classic mint juleps with four variations is below. It would also make a wonderful non-alcoholic spritzer by omitting the bourbon and adding club soda to the mix.Derby Julep (makes: 1 serving hands-on time: 5 min. total time: 5 min., not including syrup)
3 to 5 fresh mint leaves2 Tbsp. desired julep syrup
1⁄4 cup bourbon
1 fresh mint sprig
1. Place mint leaves and syrup in a chilled julep cup, and muddle. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice; add bourbon and mint sprig.
Set up a mint julep bar with an assortment of flavored syrups at your next gathering.
1. Mint Syrup: Boil 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups water, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add 15 fresh mint sprigs, and cool completely. Cover and chill 24 hours. Strain syrup; discard solids.
2. Grapefruit-Honey Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, reducing sugar to 1/2 cup and stirring 3⁄4 cup freshgrapefruit juice, 1/2 cup honey, 3 (2- x 4-inch) grapefruit rind strips, and rind from 1 lime, cut into strips, into sugar mixture with mint. For julep, muddle with 1 small grapefruit rind strip.
3. Peach-Basil Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, substituting basil for mint and stirring 2 (5.5-oz.) cans peach nectar and 1 split vanilla bean into sugar mixture with basil. For julep, muddle with 1 peach slice.
4. Blackberry Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, adding 6 oz.fresh blackberries, halved, with mint. For julep, muddle with 2 fresh blackberries.
5. Pineapple-Lemongrass Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, reducing granulated sugar to 1 cup, adding 1/2 cup light brown sugar to granulated sugar and water, and stirring 1 cup pineapple juice, 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, and 3 (3-inch) pieces fresh lemongrass into sugar mixture with mint after removing from heat. For julep, muddle with 1 small fresh pineapple chunk.
Even better, for all you cocktail lovers out there, Southern Living has graciously offered to let me giveaway one of their new cookbooks to one of my lovely blogging friends. To enter, use the Rafflecopter widget below! I'm not sure if yall are like me, but I LOVE any reason to add new cookbooks to my collection... good luck ladies!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And P.S. for an extra shot of summer, head on over to my friend Darci's blog, The Good Life, for my featured guest post today, featuring some of my favorite must-haves!