The Kentucky Derby, a world famous race for three-year-old thoroughbred horses held in Louisville at Churchill Downs, is less than a week away, and the drink that has long been associated with this event is the popular Southern cocktail known as the mint julep.
The term “julep,” meaning “sweet drink” derives from the Persian term golâb (گلاب), which literally means “rose water.” Although the origin of the mint julep is said to date back some two hundred years, this particular drink has been linked with the “Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” since 1938. Every Derby weekend, nearly 120,000 mint juleps get served at Churchill Downs, almost always in collectible commemorative glasses.
To make a mint julep, first make a simple syrup consisting of two teaspoons of powdered sugar and one teaspoon of water, add some pieces of spearmint leaf, and bruise the mixture lightly in a Collins glass with a muddler to release the essence. Top off with crushed ice, add bourbon, garnish with a sprig of mint, and serve with a straw.