Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mint Julep

2 oz. Bourbon or rye
1/2 oz. mint syrup

Fill a highball glass or julep cup with finely crushed ice. Stir together the spirit and syrup and pour over the ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve with short straws.

Mint Syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a pot and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and add about 12 mint sprigs (1 bunch) to steep for at least 20 minutes until the syrup develops a mint flavor. Cool to room temperature, strain into a clean container, and store in the refrigerator.

The traditional method of making juleps is to gently muddle a handfull of mint leaves in the bottom of a cup with sugar or simple syrup, and then build the rest of the ingredients on top. I prefer to make the mint syrup, especially if making a lot of these, plus you don't end up with mint leaves clogging your straw.

The mint julep first appeared in print in 1803 as a "dram of spirituous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians in the morning." The origins of the drink itself are a little fuzzy, but likely come from the julab. A julab is an Arabic drink made centuries ago with water and rose petals. When introduced to the Mediterranean, the rose petals were replaced with the indigenous mint. Great post with videos on how to, and how not to, make a mint julep here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Watermelon Cooler


3 oz watermelon juice
1 1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz falernum syrup
1/4 oz lemon juice
soda water

Shake all ingredients (minus the soda) with ice and strain into an ice filled Collins or high ball glass. Top with soda water and garnish with a long twist of lemon.


3 oz watermelon juice
1 1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz Canton ginger liqueur
1/4 oz simple syrup
1/4 oz lemon juice
~5 mint leaves
soda water

Gently muddle the mint with the lemon juice and simple syrup, then add the rest of the ingredients (minus the soda). Shake with ice and strain into an ice filled Collins or high ball glass. Top with soda water and garnish with a long twist of lemon and a mint sprig.

To make watermelon juice: quarter a seedless watermelon and remove all of the fruit from the skin. Process in a blender and strain into a clean bottle. The falernum can be a little hard to find, but it can be ordered from here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Old Fashioned

2 oz. rye or bourbon
1 tsp. water
1 sugar cube
2 dashes Fee Bros. old fashion aromatic bitters, or Angostura

In a rocks glass, muddle the bitters with the sugar and water. Add a few large ice cubes and the whiskey, stir to combine. Garnish with a broad peel of orange, making sure to twist it over the top of the drink, and a cherry.

This is a "whiskey cocktail made the old fashioned way". The ingredients of this drink represent the original cocktail, but it first appeared in print in 1880. There should never be a pulpy mess of fruit at the bottom of an old fashioned. The orange peel, twisted over the drink, should release enough oils to give a slight orange flavor. Caster or superfine sugar could replace the sugar cube and probably dissolve better, or you could use simple syrup.

Applejack Cobbler

2 oz. applejack
1/4 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes peach bitters
2 strawberries
4 blackberries

Muddle the the berries, syrup, and bitters in a mixing glass, then add the applejack. Shake with ice and strain into a footed or highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with blackberries and quartered strawberries. Serve with a spoon and a straw, or a spoon-straw.

The cobbler was the most popular drink of it's time, the king of which was the Sherry Cobbler (sherry, sugar, ice, orange slices, muddled and garnished with berries). This drink was first mentioned in print in 1809, but most early references come from the 1840's when it really became popular. A few decades later it had moved past just wines to include spirits as a base, and was still going strong. In the 1888 edition of Harry Johnson's Bartender's Manual, he noted that the Sherry Cobbler is "without a doubt the most popular beverage in the country, with ladies as well as with gentlemen. It is a very refreshing drink for old and young." Along with the Julep, this drink helped popularize the use of ice in your drink (and was possibly the first to be shaken with ice), and the straw was almost unheard of. Still a great summer drink with endless variations.