Just because it isn’t Derby Day — or that Mexican holiday — yet, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. The two holidays falling on the same damn Saturday is not something to be taken lightly. And I’m not talking about the usual stretches you do the morning of St. Patrick’s Day so you don’t cramp up in a fist fight or a cop chase (Irish cops make sure they get their kicks on that glorious holiday, too). If you want to hold an epic party like the folks at The Daily Caller, you need to prep some ingredients for a serious mint julep and an equally serious margarita.
But still stretch. Those Mexicans do not mess around.
And listen up, there is nothing more important on an American holiday — and that includes the American holidays we conquered — than a cool cocktail in your hand. And if you think the girls are impressed when a guy makes a mean cocktail (they are; they really are), you gotta see the look on a guy’s face when a lady offers him a delicious whiskey or tequila. Now, if he’s a man’s man he will hide it, but afterward he’ll probably tell all his friends how awesome you are and, by extension, how awesome he is for knowing you.
The Kentucky Derby’s Mint Julep
The Kentucky Derby is a sacred day among bourbon drinkers, southerners and, thanks to the popularity of both bourbon and the South, the rest of the United States.
First appearing in books in the early 19th Century, the julep has always been a gentleman’s drink to be enjoyed on your porch, in your rocking chair, in the morning or at night, while contemplating how good it is to own land.
The first time we had a julep at the Churchill Downs race track was a little while later (early 1930s we think, but really it’s all a blur after the Roaring ’20s), but now each year, at the pinnacle of horse racing, nearly 120,000 of these suckers are sold. That’s a lot of booze. And if you’ve ever had bourbon in the sun, you know it means business. So ladies, break our your fancy hats and gents, bust out the ties (and the douche bag suits). Because we’re going to tie one on with an old fashioned julep:
A julep has four ingredients. No more, no less. Bourbon, mint, sugar and ice.
You’re also going to need a container you can cover and throw in the fridge.
Get to the point, right? What the hell takes prep work in a 4-ingredient drink? Stay calm! This is a Southern tradition, and the syrup is an important part. Here’s how it’s done:
The day before you plan on making your juleps, take one part water, one part sugar and throw them in a pot on the stove. You aren’t going to need too much of this syrup — about a tablespoon a drink, so plan accordingly. Bring the water to a boil just long enough so you don’t see any sugar left when you run your spoon through it. Shouldn’t take long.
Now take the syrup and pour it into a container. For every cup of sugar and water you used, throw in three to four sprigs of mint. So, if you cooked two cups of boiling water and two cups of sugar, throw in six to eight sprigs of mint. Cover this mixture and cool it in the fridge for the morning.
The next day, crush some ice (this is important) and fill the cup —a silver or pewter one, if you have it. Add 2 oz. of bourbon — Early Times Kentucky Bourbon if you’re feeling official. Then add a tablespoon of mint-infused syrup and stir the drink quickly. Add a garnish of mint and, if you’re feeling fancy, add a small dash of confection sugar to the leaves for a bit of color.
Now crush it, pour another, climb on top of your bar stool and yell “HORSE!!!” at the TV until your number wins.