These bourbon laden treats were inspired by two things: those still spring, but almost summer days that give you a hint at just how blazing hot this summer is going to be, and… this weekend’s Kentucky Derby.
Here’s what I know about Spring:
It’s green. Once we get past the Easter Bunny stage, it’s all about blooming flowers and May showers. Spring makes me feel like I’m in love with the world… probably because I am.
Here’s what I know about the Kentucky Derby:
Horses. Hats. Mint Juleps.
Here’s what I know about bourbon:
Dang, it’s good!
Here, for your Spring and Derby pleasure, are Mint Julep two ways.
The first is a classic Mint Julep cocktail. If you’re from the South and think that somehow this recipe is not a classic version, then please accept my humble apologies as a native Californian. This is the (ooooh so delicious) way I’ve had Mint Juleps foreva-eva-eva.
The second version is all of the Mint Julep fix-ins on watermelon cubes. Brilliant, right? So refreshing, so fun, and just the perfect way to get ready for the summer sun.
Mint Julep, the cocktail
makes 1 drink adapted from Chow
- 3 sprigs fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
- 2 ounces bourbon
- club soda or filtered water
- sprinkle of powdered sugar
Muddle the leaves from two mint sprigs with teaspoons of water and sugar in a highball or collins glass.
Once the mint is bruised and the mixtures is super fragrant, fill the cup with ice cubes. Pour in bourbon, and top with club soda or water and garnish with the remaining mint sprig and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Mint Julep, the watermelon
adapted from Gourmet May 2005
- 2 tablespoons bourbon or blended whiskey
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint plus 2 tablespoons whole small fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 small, seedless watermelon (about 2 pounds of diced watermelon, I just used a small mixing bowl full of diced melon)
Stir together bourbon, chopped mint, and sugar in a small bowl. Let stand 20 minutes (to allow flavors to develop).
Meanwhile, trim, peel, and dice a watermelon. Place in a medium mixing bowl. Pour bourbon mixture through a sieve onto watermelon. If you leave the chopped mint in the mixture, pour it all over the watermelon, and don’t serve it immediately, they’ll eventually turn brown and icky. I learned the hard way. Add whole mint leaves and gently toss to combine. Place in the fridge to chill until serving.