It's official - springtime has come to Kentucky! How can we tell you ask? Well, the daily temperatures are consistently climbing; we have weeping cherry trees showing off their lace-like blossoms at the Lexington Cemetery; dogwood trees, lilac bushes and red buds are showing off their beautiful pinks, whites and purples all along the fence rows of our beautiful horse farms; daffodils,narcissus, wild violets and anemone are dotting yards and fields alike with their vibrant blossoms; baby horses are shadowing their mommies; races are being run at Keeneland; the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby is just around the corner and last, but not least, my Kentucky Colonel mint is putting up new leaves in time for #Mint Julep Month!
#Mint Julep Month celebrates the classic Southern cocktail for the thirty days leading up to “the most exciting two minutes in sports aka the Kentucky Derby”. According to Garden & Gun, bars and restaurants across the nation will toast Mint Julep Month with custom cocktails and special events.
At Charred Oaks Inn we celebrate #Mint Julep Month as well, and extend it beyond the Derby for our guests to be able to experience the delight of all things mint from making and sipping their own Mint Juleps to enjoying our signature Mint Julep Panna Cotta desserts or sampling our Mint Julep scones, hot and fragrant, for breakfast.
When making the perfect Mint Juleps, there are a couple of key things to remember:
Ice – you will want freshly crushed ice for your juleps which can be obtained by crushing it in a Lewis bag with a mallet.
Mint – fresh mint is essential! and Kentucky Colonel Mint is our favorite – we grow it at the Inn for seasonal use.
Sugar – at COI we make our own simple syrup using a 1:1 sugar to water ratio and chilling it before use.
Bourbon – for our Mint Julep tutorials we use the bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. Experts recommend at least 100 proof to really stand up to the mint and sugar.
Glassware – you can’t beat a mint julep cup, so we have special julep glasses for the occasion.
Recipe – we prefer about ¼ ounce of simple syrup to 2 ounces Bourbon with about 8 mint leaves in total. Add more or less syrup to taste.
Technique – muddle the mint with the simple syrup in your glass. Stir in the Bourbon. Pack with crushed ice and stir until the glass is frosted on the outside. Top with a sprig of mint. As you drink it, you will smell the mint and think you’re in heaven.