I’m not usually in the habit of posting recipes here, but it turns out that the Kentucky Derby is upon us and I have 2 quite delicious drink recipes – a classic Mint Julep and a refreshing (booze-free) Minty Watermelon Lemonade will make killer sipping’ during the race, and I can’t resist sharing. as an added bonus, I have a rather spectacular video of yours truly and a “colleague” putting together these drinks in case you need a little more hand-holding, or are just in need of a little Friday afternoon entertainment.
Don a fancy hat, seek out a little seersucker action, and you’re all set to go.
The recipes were originally posted on my urban cooking and gardening blog Spade&Spatula , and both call for a mint-infused sugar syrup. the video references not only “homegrown” mint, but “homegrown pineapple mint”. Don’t feel guilty if you have to nip out and use store-bought herbs, it’s entirely permissible! And if they happen to be just the regular variety of mint (which they likely will be!) that too is absolutely fine.
Mint Sugar SyrupMakes about 1 cup
Combine 1 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan. Heat gently over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved, turn the heat up to medium high, bring the mixture to the boil, and let it bubble away for a few seconds, then remove the pan from the heat. Throw in about 1/4 cup of mint leaves. Leave to cool completely. Strain, if desired. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
Classic Mint JulepServes 1
Roughly tear up a small handful of mint leaves – about 8 large leaves, and add to a traditional mint julep cup, or any other sturdy glass. Add about 1- 1/2 teaspoons of mint-infused sugar syrup (see recipe above), then use a muddler and gently press and squash the leaves against the sides and bottom of the cup or glass to release their oils. Add about half a fistful of crushed ice, then pour in 1- 1/2 ounces of the bourbon, and stir well or muddle to combine thoroughly. Top up the cup or glass with more crushed ice, packing it in well, pour another 1- 1/2 ounces of bourbon over the top, and finally sprinkle over 1- 1/2 teaspoons of the sugar syrup. Garnish with the sprig of mint, and you’re set to go!
Watermelon LemonadeServes 2 to 3
Puree 1 pound of peeled and seeded watermelon chunks, then strain, and pour into a measuring jug. Add half as much lemon juice as you have watermelon juice (about 3 to 4 lemons); then stir to combine. Add a 1/4 cup of the mint infused sugar syrup (see recipe above), and stir again. Top up with 1 cup iced water or cold seltzer water, and stir. Taste, and add a little more sugar syrup if desired. Pour over ice cubes, or frozen watermelon chunks, and serve.
If you liked what you saw here, do visit me and my gardening wizard colleague over at Spade&Spatula for a plethora of other treats!