Our weather had a cold gut-punch of reality for us: snow. It’s not terribly shocking to get snowed on in Colorado in October (even though it was 91 a week ago), but it was still concerning for a few reasons:
- I’m not over wearing flip flops yet.
- This will be the death of our herb garden, including our beautiful mint patch.
So what this really meant was a run on mint juleps last weekend, before the weather made us shift gears.
Fortunately we came across a great version from the Death & Co. book, which we pored over with much interest during the summer. Death & Co. is a famous craft cocktail bar in NY and now also in Denver. (We’re going soon, I guarantee you.) Their version adds a little Goslings Black Seal dark rum to add richness and depth.
There are different ideas on how to add the mint flavor to this drink. Some suggest lightly muddling the mint with the syrup, being careful not to break up the leaves. That avoids hunks of mint in your drink, and muddling the mint overmuch can add a bitter note. Or you can do this in a shaker without being wrong, just don’t obliterate the mint with your “Home Depot Paint Mixer” shaker method. Death & Co. actually just rubs the mint inside the glass and discards it before building the drink. We tried it that way and loved the result, especially given a full mint “bouquet” garnish to deliver the right aroma to the drink.
Death & Co. also prescribes demerara simple syrup, which we usually have on hand. Demerara is a brown cane sugar from Guyana, and it makes a great syrup for an Old Fashioned, adding depth and a note of molasses/caramel. And it worked nicely in this drink.
This is one of those cocktails that will make you want to start growing your own mint. And if it grows easily here in the Colorado foothills, it will grow most places.
1 mint sprig
2 ounces bourbon
1⁄4 ounce demarara syrup or other simple syrup
1⁄4 ounce Gosling’s Black Seal rum
1 mint bouquet, for garnish
Muddle the mint sprig with the syrup lightly for 10 seconds or so. You just want to bruise the mint, not break it apart. (Or, to follow the method of famed NY cocktail bar Death & Co., just rub the mint around the bottom and sides of the glass and discard it before building the rest of the drink.) Swizzle the bourbon and syrup in the bottom of a Collins glass, then fill it with crushed ice. Pour the rum over the ice, garnish with the mint bouquet and serve.
For more on making your own simple syrup, see our post.
Keywords: mint julep cocktail
More tasty cocktails below: