Friday is Derby Eve. That is to say, Saturday is Derby Day. Which will be followed in short order by Sunday Funday.
The hell does that mean? That means if you’re an American with a brain, a heart and a pair, you’d better check your bank account balance now. It’s going to get rough, and the only clues you’ll be left with Monday morning are crumpled receipts, a stained shirt, inexplicably muddy shoes and a tie you can’t seem to find. And you will be wearing a tie, unless you’re a lady, in which case you know how to dress yourself already, and don’t need to be told these things.
But Derby Day is no St. Patrick’s Day, all crushing whiskey and throwing right hooks. It’s a sophisticated celebration, and there are a few things that every patriotic man of substance and good taste must know.
Fortunately for America, The Daily Caller is here to speak that truth.
Truth #1) How to make a bomb-ass mint julep
A bomb-ass mint julep is absolutely key to a proper observance of Kentucky’s derby. A blend of American whiskey, sugar and mint, it’s a sort of sweet tea for boozehounds. And while we dropped a pretty fly recipe for a classic bourbon julep last year, it isn’t 2012 anymore, so we thought we’d spice things up a bit. (RELATED: How to outrun the Mayan apocalypse on a horse while wasted)
The good people at Bulleit sent us a recipe for something we hadn’t tasted before — a rye whiskey mint julep. The concept of blending the South’s sweetest manly cocktail with the South’s spiciest style of whiskey intrigued the hell out of us (and we could not believe that we hadn’t thought of it ourselves). But we did tweak the recipe a bit, because while we can get away with using cooking bourbon in a classic julep, if we drop $25 on a bottle of rye, we want to enjoy the distinctive, spicy notes it brings to the classic derby cocktail.
So here’s what folks will need to make TheDC’s Bulleit Rye Mint Julep:
- 3 oz. Bulleit Rye
- .5 oz. of simple syrup
- Six fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig of mint
- Confectioners sugar
- Crushed ice
- A julep cup (If a sterling silver julep cup isn’t at hand — and it usually isn’t — use the small end of a cocktail shaker or, if that isn’t around, a rocks glass)
- A muddler (or, like, the back end of a screwdriver)
Julep’s aren’t too complicated, but they take a bit of prep work. First, to make simple syrup, combine water and sugar at a 1:1 ratio and bring it to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely disolved into the water. It’s ideal to cool this concoction before using, but when we’re thirsty, we rarely have the patience.
Next, crushing ice. Crushing ice sucks. A lot. But it really needs to be done, not only for tradition’s sake (and Derby Day is a bender of the most traditional sort), but for the sake of the taste (sipping the julep through the ice while it melts into our creation is pretty much the best thing in the world). Some fancy folks have ice crushers, and a lot of bars do too. Heck, they even sell hand-cranked ice crushers. But if all else fail (as is the case in the office this morning), we just throw that ice in a double trash bag and slam it with a hammer. It makes a lot of noise, takes a little sweat, and causes a total mess but it gets the job done.
Now, to make the julep, drop the mint leaves and the simple syrup into the julep cup, then muddle that together for a few seconds. Next, fill the cup to the brim with crushed ice, followed by the rye whiskey. Once we’ve added the ingredients, we like to box it back and forth to let the cocktail mix with the ice, but we’re pretty sure a southern gentleman would tell us never to do that. Oh well.
Finally, garnish with a sprig of mint and a dash of confectioners sugar.