In the cooler months, it’s traditional for those who imbibe to switch to the “brown liquors” – bourbon, whiskey, rye. I don’t want to mess with tradition, so I’ve put away the gin until the warm days return in March. In the meantime, instead of just sipping whiskey, I want to build my repertoire of good whiskey cocktails. One that I found last year was the Lion’s Tail cocktail. It is a spicy combination of rye or bourbon, lime juice, syrup, bitters and Pimento Dram. The Lion’s Tail became last year’s biggest holiday party hit.
It’s only the first week in May but already my garden is overrun with spearmint. It’s not to the point where it’s choking out my carrots or strawberry plants yet, but give it couple of weeks with some steady rain and I’ll be in trouble. Luckily, it’s Kentucky Derby weekend so I can pull some of that mint up and use it in a Mint Julep.
Mint juleps have been the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs since 1938. Traditionally served in pewter cups, it is a “smash” of simple syrup muddled with fresh spearmint and bourbon, poured over crushed ice. I like to think of it as a grown-up mint/bourbon slushie.