I always kick off the summer with a cold, fresh, Mint Julep. During my college years at USC, we would drink Juleps during our derby season, which was called the Carolina Cup (the Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby). I love the taste of this drink, but I also love the aromatherapy benefits and the way that my house smells while I'm making it.
There's a real ritual to making a Julep and it's all about ensuring you extract the right amount of oils from the mint by gently muddling it with the sugar
OR making a simple syrup before adding crushed ice. The key to making the drink
look awesome is adding extra crushed ice to top it off and then using the ice as
a vehicle to decorate with garnishes. Always make sure the mint for the
garnish is the freshest you have and keep in mind that you do not have
to limit yourself to using mint — you can add whatever fruit or berries you'd like.
Mint Julep (Makes 2 servings)
2 tablespoons coconut simple syrup (see below)
4-6 fresh mint sprigs/mint leaves
1 1/2 ounces of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice OR Smile Sparkle Shine
2/3 cup Jamaican Rum (I prefer Blackwell) or Bourbon
Coconut Sugar Simple Syrup
1 cup boiling water + 1 cup coconut sugar (can sub w/ honey or agave) + 2-3 mint leaves. Stir boiling water into sugar until sugar dissolves. Simple syrup
will keep for a long time refrigerated in covered container.
Pour 1 tablespoon Coconut Simple Syrup into a tall glass. Add 2 sprigs mint,
crushed slightly. Add ice. Stir in 1/3 cup rum or bourbon. Add more ice to fill
glass. Garnish with mint.
Image of Lauren's Mint Julep via Lauren