Mint Julep (Dale DeGroff)
(from Dale DeGroff’s book “The Essential Cocktail”)
2 sprigs of mint, preferably perky looking spearmint
3/4 ounce of simple syrup
2 1/2 ounces bonded bourbon (like Old Forester, Bookers, Blanton’s or Maker’s Mark)
Powdered sugar, for dusting, optional
Gently bruise 1 of the mint sprigs in the bottom of a mixing glass with syrup – use just enough pressure to release the mint’s oils, but don’t shred the leaves. Add the bourbon, but there’s no need to mix here, because you’re going to do a lot of it next. Strain into a highball glass or your favorite silver julep chalice filled with crushed ice and swirl the ice with a bar spoon until the outside of the glass frosts, which can take a few minutes for a thick glass or just a few seconds if you’re using a proper silver julep cup (a 10-ounce sterling-silver chalice) or its approximation; if using glass, the thinner the better. Top off with a bit more crushed ice, as the level will have dropped with all that stirring, and stir briefly again. Garnish with the remaining mint sprig. If it’s your preference, sprinkle the sugar over the top of the drink, which looks like yet more frosting of snow. Also, if it’s your preference, insert two straws that are about 1 inch taller than the glass—ideally, these straws, a well as your cups, are sterling. Counsel your guests to hold the drink tightly, because all the frost makes it likely to slip through their grasp. One of the beauties of the proper julep cup is he reverse-tapered body, sometimes with a lip at the rim, allowing the imbiber every opportunity to rescue a slipping drink.