The Mint Julep, which originally began as Cognac cocktail in the very earliest days of the United States, is the official drink of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby. But it may as well be the official summer drink of the American South, too. Designed to be sipped slowly, allowing the mountain of crushed ice to melt into the drink and temper the stiff pour of whiskey, the Julep completes the scene on porches stretching from Virginia to the Gulf Coast. Since it first came on the scene in the 1800s, it has provided respite from hot summer days, greased the wheels of high society meetings and been consumed by the literal truck load every Derby day. But between muddling the mint and crushing the ice, individual Juleps are reasonably labor intensive. If you need to serve a large group of people, there’s nothing wrong with looking for a shortcut. That’s where this Mint Julep Pitcher comes in. There’s no need to muddle thanks to a mint-infused simple syrup and, while you could crush enough ice for everyone, you can also treat this more like a punch and use ordinary cubes instead. Whether you’re throwing a Kentucky Derby party or you’re just having some friends over on a sunny summer afternoon, this pitcher is a guaranteed winner.
Mint Julep Pitcher
- Bring water to a boil and add sugar, stirring until it dissolves.
- Remove from heat, add half the mint and cool in the fridge for an hour.
- Strain the mint syrup into a pitcher, add the bourbon and stir.
- Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
- About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve, take the pitcher out, add ice and the remaining mint.
A popular drink during William McKinley’s presidential campaign, the McKinley’s Delight only differs from the classic Manhattan by a few dashes. Instead of Angostura Bitters, this cocktail gets its slightly sweeter, spiced flavor from dashes of cherry liqueur and absinthe. While we don’t know for sure if President McKinley ever enjo...