The quintessential American Cocktail, mint julep is also the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is all about bourbon, fresh mint and lots of ice. In Kentucky, home of the Derby, as well as in Virginia, they grow a variety of spearmint —menthe cordifolia spicata—, that is commonly known as “Kentucky Colonel Mint” and which is, of course, the most suitable to make mint juleps.
While reading Speakeasy by mixologists Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric, owners of Employees Only in New York, I found this super easy recipe to make the perfect mint syrup for the perfect Derby mint juleps. I’ll go back to Speakeasy for a book review and I’m ready for my own version of the mint julep. In the meantime, I’m going to share the recipe for the syrup.
I don’t have Kentucky Colonel Mint in my “mojito farm” where I grow orange mint, apple mint, peppermint, spearmint and yerbabuena. So I chose spearmint, which is the most similar to menthe cordifolia spicata. This syrup lasts for up to a week in the refrigerator. I suggest making it the day before you are going to use so the mint leaves infuse the syrup. It’s good for mint juleps, cocktails including mojitos, mint lemonade and mint tea.
To make it you just need simple syrup and fresh spearmint leaves. Simple syrup is usually one part of superfine sugar dissolved in one part of water, but in this case I followed Employees Only’s recipe which consists in 3 1/3 cups of superfine sugar dissolved in 2 cups of water.
Mint Syrup | Ingredients to make 1 quart
3 1/3 cups of superfine sugar
2 cups of water
50 leaves of spearmint
Lightly bruise the spearmint leaves with a wooden muddler or spoon. Make the simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water. Cover the leaves with the syrup and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Strain it, discard the leaves and keep it covered and refrigerated.
To print the recipe click here.