Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday's Treat: Infused Bourbon & Mint Juleps

Attending the Kentucky Derby is one of the top placeholders on my bucket list. One day when I have a lot of spare cash and the patience to wait it out in the lottery system for a ticket, I will go.

Until that time, I always make it a priority to watch the race on television... even if that means wearing a huge hat and yelling at the TV by myself in the living room.

This year I've convinced the boyfriend to go to the largest Derby Party outside of Churchill Downs... which happens to be in downtown Denver. I even bought a new fascinator for the occasion!

Mint Juleps! Image via

While the event I'm going to has bottom-less mint juleps, I thought it would be a fun way of kicking off Derby Weekend with a twist on the classic:

Mint Infused Bourbon


Large, clean mason jar (should hold about 3.5 cups)

Enough fresh mint sprigs to fill up the jar loosely (I used about 6 ounces)

3.5 cups cheap Bourbon*


1) Wash mint sprigs and pat dry
2) Fill mason jar with mint sprigs, ripping slightly as you tuck them in

3) Pour in the bourbon up to the top
4) Seal off the jar
5) Let sit in the sun for a couple hours to kick off the infusing process
6) Tuck it in the fridge for a couple of days#

*I've been told by bourbon/whisky enthusiasts that infusing takes away the harsh bite of cheap bourbon. So instead of "ruining" good bourbon, get a bottle of the cheap stuff.

#Most people who do this say you need about 5 days to really infuse the bourbon. If you are short on time, keep the bourbon is the sun for 2 days - should do the trick.

Derby Drinks

Image via.

The Traditional Kentucky Derby Mint Julep:

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Crushed ice
Kentucky Whiskey
Silver Julep Cups

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling the cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces Kentucky whiskey. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

The Grey Goose® Oaks Lily
1 ounce Grey Goose vodka
1 ounce Sweet and Sour Mix
3 ounces of Cranberry Juice
Splash of Triple Sec

Mix ingredients, place in a stemless wine glass with crushed ice, add a straw, and garnish with an orange wedge and cherry. This drink is typically served at the Oaks race, the day before the Kentucky Derby.

Frozen Mint Julep
4 mint leaves
4 ounces of bourbon
4 ounces of Sweet and Sour Mix

Blend with ice until smooth, pour into a tall glass and garnish with mint

Ginger Julep
1.5 ounces bourbon
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
1 medium piece of candied ginger
1/4 teaspoon molasses
3 ounces bitter lemon soda

Muddle all ingredients except the soda in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Transfer to a rocks glass with ice. Fill with bitter lemon soda. garnish with a lime twist.

Mint Julep Lemonade
2 ounces mint-infused Bourbon
2 ounces simple syrup
1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
Lemon-lime soda

Add the first 3 ingredients to a glass filled with crushed ice. Stir, add more crushed ice and top with soda. garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wedge.

Ginger Peach Julep
1.5 ounces bourbon
1/2 ounce peach liqueur
1 teaspoon ginger puree
10 mint leaves
Splash of water
Crushed ice

Muddle puree, syrup, and mint leaves lightly in mixing glass. Add ice and bourbon and mix well. Double strain over crushed ice into a Julep cup. Garnish with ginger and mint sprig.

Sweet Bourbon Punch
2 cups unsweetened ice tea
1 cup sugar
1 12 ounce can frozen OJ
1 12 ounce can frozen limeade
1 750ml bottle of bourbon
7 cups water

Mix all ingredients and chill. Makes a gallon to share with friends.

Going to a Derby Party? Bring this perfect set to your host/hostess!

Image via.

I'm wishing today's warm weather will melt away this week's freak snow storm before Saturday, and hoping that either Palace Malice or Falling Sky pull off a win!


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