Sparkling Blackberry Mint Julep

I lived in the South for many years and while I can’t brag about having been to the Kentucky Derby, I can say I’ve driven through that part of the country during our moves and it is amazingly beautiful. Wide, rolling expanses of green grass are accentuated with white fences that stretch for miles. You can imagine in the distance a scene I’ve only seen played out through the small screen; that array of genteel Southern folks, dressed as if stepping back in time and all congregated to watch a spectacular of speed, grace and beauty that I don’t believe is matched anywhere. I have always loved  horses; seeing them run in the Derby is one of the most exhilarating experiences I know; I can only imagine how fabulous it must be to be there. I have the perfect hat, it’s wide flowing brim just waiting for that moment when the invitation comes!

In the Meantime…

In lieu of waiting for my horse to pass by, I’ve been invited often to Kentucky Derby parties. Which means food and drink and nothing is more quintessentially a Derby drink than the Mint Julep. So southern; so sweet; so good. To stay true to form, I used my Wild Turkey whiskey from Kentucky as a nod to the roots of this cocktail but I veered pretty far off the path after that. Mint Julep’s are good all by themselves but I’m not sure they are blog worthy…how many blogs do you need to tell you to mix sugar, bourbon and mint anyhow? So; I got clever (or so I think!) and decided to add not only a fruity touch but a fizzy one as well with the addition of some fresh blackberries and a wonderful Prosecco from Ogio Wines.

ogio-with-glassDid we love this? Big time. The addition of blackberries was so perfect; enough tartness to temper the sugar but not enough to change the overall composition of the drink. The Ogio Prosecco was just perfect; I enjoyed not only the bubbly but that one addition made the drink more festive and maybe a bit less ‘boozy’ and I liked it. A lot.

Tasting Notes

The Ogio Prosecco offers a delicate yet complex bouquet with fruity notes of peach and green apple. It is fresh and light on the palate with balanced acidity and a long, lingering finish. I found it both ideal on it’s own and the perfect compliment in this drink. The added combination of Prosecco and blackberries was very well received; both added a fresh and fruity flavor to this classic warm weather cocktail.

blackberry-mint-julep-single

I struggled a bit deciding whether to post something today that would be fitting for just The Kentucky Derby or wondered if I should also offer up something for Cinco de Mayo on Sunday. You can see what won…but then I remembered that I put together a compilation of some great Cinco de Mayo dishes and cocktails last year that is still a great resource for those festivities. Whew!! As for this? I’ll have some ready tomorrow for the big race; you coming over?

Sparkling Blackberry Mint Julep
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Serves: 2 cocktails
Ingredients
  • Small ice cubes (I get mine from Sonic; they sell ice by the bag)
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • 4 tablespoons mint leaves torn in half
  • 2 Tbsp simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar brought to boil just enough to melt sugar; cooled)
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • Prosecco or other sparkling wine
  • Mint sprigs and blackberries for garnish
Preparation
  1. Fill a julep or small rocks glass overflowing with ice cubes.
  2. In a shaker, muddle the blackberries, mint leaves and simple syrup.
  3. Add 1 cup of ice cubes and bourbon to the shaker and shake well. Strain the drink into the glass filling it ¾ full.
  4. Finish filling the glass with the Prosecco, gently stir to combine.
  5. Gently press on the mint leaves for garnish to release their aroma before putting a bunch into each cocktail; finish with a blackberry and serve with a short straw.
2014 Kentucky Derby Cocktail is a Honey Peach Mint Julep; another winner!


Comments

    • Creative Culinary says

      I’ve always sipped just a regular mint julep; after making that blackberry one I’m sold on adding fruit to one; it really was terrific.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I’ll cheer with you; I had no winner in mind so would have been happy to pull for your favorite horse!

    • Creative Culinary says

      It is so much better…while I’ve like them OK, I LOVED this! I thought them both a bit too sweet and a bit too strong with the bourbon; the blackberries and the sparkling wine were great ‘fixers.’ :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Yeah! You won’t be disappointed; they are fresh and so good…I like them much better than the original. Enjoy Mom’s day Hannah!

    • Creative Culinary says

      Thanks so much Jayne; sometimes I make one I love more than others and this did fit that bill! Silver cups don’t hurt probably right? :)

    • Creative Culinary says

      Please do…so refreshing and I loved how the blackberries made it not quite so sweet. Perfect even!

  1. Daniela Silva says

    Amazing drink , so fresh and delicious , We can’t go wrong with this amazing drink. A must try.

    • Creative Culinary says

      I haven’t been to them here but I did go to some races when I was younger and lived in St. Louis; they were so disappointing; more seedy than spectacular so guess I’ve never been interested. We should do a girls day out at the races! :)

  2. says

    Oh, I think the world can always use another post about Mint Juleps! ;-) Really nice variant you did – I’ve never had bourbon and bubbly of any kind, and really should just to see what it’s like. Aren’t mint leaves so much fun to shoot when lit from behind? Great photos and drink – thanks so much.
    john@kitchenriffs Most Recent Post: The Mint Julep

    • Creative Culinary says

      Probably right John…heck I love to do other classics although I realize I’m sharing more about the history than actually how to make the cocktail. I experiment a bit more with bubbly than I ever have. I used to just use it for mimosas but it livens up a lot of other cocktails too!

    • Creative Culinary says

      I do believe this could make a convert of you! It was just delicious. Yes, I said delicious. :)

  3. Liz N. says

    Where did you find your sterling silver mugs for the Mint Juleps? I have wanted a pair forever!

    • Liz N. says

      Also, what a great idea to purchase your ice from Sonic!!! I had no idea they sell ice by the bag. I will do that for this beverage. BRILLIANT. You learn something new everyday!

  4. says

    Heck, ya! I definitely want to join you! :) B, this is just marvelously brilliant. I adore bourbon and blackberry almost anything. The perfect berry for this cocktail! And, I love that you went for some bubbly action with the Ogio Prosecco. Must try this! By the way…lived in Lexington, KY for 2 years and my inner Southern Belle LOVED IT there! The Big Lug and I moved there due to Toyota Motor Manufacturing being a high-profile client in nearby Georgetown, KY. Did lots of day trips (so much to see!) and even went caving. Also, went to Keeneland for the horse races. LOVED IT! Thanks again for another swell Cocktail Friday with Barb of CC! xoxo
    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen Most Recent Post: Coconut Ginger Lime Margarita

    • Creative Culinary says

      It is so beautiful there isn’t it? I struggled with the ‘less green’ aspect of Denver but now I could not leave the ‘less humid’ one! Have a great weekend Stacy!

      • says

        Oh, B…totally loved Kentucky. We both did, but hubby suffers from allergies to ragweed and the State Flower of KY is the Goldenrod, LOL. People were awesome. Oh, yes…The Big Lug once interviewed in Denver. He didn’t like it at all. (Not to mention his mountain sickness and had to scarf down lots of bananas for potassium and drink a ton of water, LOL!) He said Denver was “very grey”. Needless to say, we decided to stay here in Indy. Thank you! You have a great weekend, too!
        Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen Most Recent Post: Coconut Ginger Lime Margarita

        • Creative Culinary says

          I think Denver was more of a shock because our realtor only took us to new homes which is why, when I settled after a divorce, I HAD to buy a place a bit older just for the trees. Truth though? Denver is hardly gray; we have way too much sunshine for me to have ever aligned it with that color! I’m from the Midwest and while MO and IN are greener and more lush; I would not trade now for that if it meant going back to humidity; I love dining outside far too much. In a yard with trees. :)

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