Last year I made this Sparkling Blackberry Mint Julep for the running of the Kentucky Derby and it was life changing (well, in a cocktail sort of way!). Adding fruit to a Mint Julep seems so perfect I have to wonder why the original purveyor of this quintessential Southern cocktail didn’t do it. As much as I do love them, Mint Juleps are also a bit heavy handed with the Bourbon so make sure you use a quality brand (no surprise to see Maker’s Mark here; I LOVE it). This isn’t the cocktail for that cheap stuff you bought to mix with Coco-Cola, OK?
Still, even with a good Bourbon like Maker’s, I’ve always found them a bit too strong until I started playing with Juleps and fruit. This one, quite simply, is the bomb. So OMG good I could down it right now; well, actually I am. It is sitting here next to me while I write (or try to) and if my grammar and spelling get truly bad soon, blame it on the booze!
I had an epiphany when I was thinking about what to pull together today to honor tomorrow’s race. Though most often associated with Georgia, peaches are to me ‘the’ fruit of the South; they thrive in that heat and it produces juicy, lovely fruit. Using honey as part of the peach simple syrup I made was inspired by the fact that I had some amazing product from the Mohawk Valley Trading Co. sitting on my counter; that made this an easy choice. This company is a fantastic find with beautiful honey, beeswax candles and absolutely delicious Maple Syrup. I knew as soon as I saw the packaging that I was in for something special. I’ve got some Maple Cookies I hope to make soon using their Maple Syrup; it is truly divine too. I felt blessed to be able to combine Maker’s Mark bourbon with Mohawk Trading Company’s honey in this Honey Peach Mint Julep creation. I just can not tell you how fantastic it is!
In case you haven’t heard, my youngest daughter Lauren is leaving tomorrow for a new job in Las Vegas. Talk about mixed emotions. Sad for me, ecstatic for her (and Zappos who is lucky to have her!). There is a going away party I’m missing so guess what? I’m done. I wrote yesterday about my love affair with horses and put together a smorgasbord of ideas for a Derby party including my recipe for Bananas Foster Banana Bread and some more Julep recipes. Please visit that post if you need some ideas for your own event. In the meantime…I”m outta here; my girl is waiting!
For the Peach and Mint Simple Syrup
- 1 small peach sliced (you can leave skins on if you want)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 5 sprigs of mint
- 2 Tbsp Honey
For the Cocktail
- 2 1/2 oz. bourbon
- 12-15 fresh mint leaves
- Crushed ice
- Mint and Peach Slices for garnish
To Make the Honey Peach Syrup:
- Combine the small sliced peach, sugar, water and mint in a small saucepan and cook until the sugar is melted. Simmer for 2-3 minutes on low until the peaches are softened. Add the honey and stir until combined.
- Remove from heat and mash the peaches well.
- Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the peach pulp and mint; set aside to cool.
To Make the Honey Peach Mint Julep Cocktail:
- Place the mint and 1/4 ounce of the peach syrup in a julep cup or Old Fashioned glass and gently muddle, working the leaves up the side of the glass.
- Loosely pack the glass with crushed ice, then add bourbon and drizzle a bit of the peach syrup on top. Stir gently.
- Garnish with a peach slice and a sprig of mint.
To make in larger quantities; make the syrup and cool. Mix the bourbon and peach syrup in a container. Muddle the mint with a splash of the bourbon mixture, fill the glasses with ice and then top with the bourbon.