May 25, 2006
The theme for the upcoming (June 5) Mixology Monday is mint, so I thought I would check out a couple of mint classics. I'm sure both the Mojito and the Mint Julep will be well represented in the show as they immediately come to mind when you think of a mint drink. Getting fresh mint here in the Northeast US can be a bit of a hit or miss proposition. Sometimes it is just a small package of sickly looking, aroma-free wilted green things. Sometimes nothing at all. But this time, my trip to the grocery store was rewarded with a nice bundle of fresh mint. I suppose we should plant some in our backyard garden, but mint can be quite the pest, growing like a weed.
So of course, when I think of doing something a little different to a classic drink, I immediately pull out my favorite cocktail book, New Classic Cocktails by Allan Gage. I've used it on a number of occasions. If you aren't familiar with it, the book shows two recipes on each double page. The top one is the "classic" recipe, while the bottom one is a variation on the theme. Along with high quality pictures, thick, glossy pages, and a nice fold over bookmark, it makes for a great cocktail book. And of course, both the Mojito and the Mint Julep are in the book, along with their paired twists.
- 8 mint leaves
- 1/2 lime, cut into wedges
- 2 tsp. sugar syrup (used my Stirrings brand again)
- 2 oz gold rum (the book suggests Havana 3-year old, but I used Bacardi 8 year old)
- 1 oz apple juice (Motts Natural)
- mint spring and red apple slices for decoration
Muddle the mint, lime and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill highball glass with crushed ice. Add the rum to the shaker and shake well. Do not add ice to the shaker. Strain the drink into the highball glass and top with apple juice.
This was a good cocktail, except as a rum fanatic I think it was a little too weak. More rum, I say! But it looked good (I wish I could get my cocktail pictures to come out better) and it went down easy.
The Vatican Julep
- 2 oz Bourbon (I used my usual, Makers Mark)
- 2 tsp. creme de menthe (Marie Brizard)
- .5 oz fresh lime juice (about 1/2 a nice fat one)
- .5 oz sugar syrup
- 6 mint leaves
- 4 dashes Angostura bitters
Fill highball glass with crushed ice. Put the bourbon, creme de menthe, lime juice, sugar syrup, mint and bitters in a blender and mix well. Pour the mixture over the ice and top up with more crushed ice. Decorate with mint sprig.
This was an excellent cocktail. It might not be a favorite if you are a huge bourbon fan, as there was only the hint of the whiskey, but it was enough for me. I was thinking I'd like to try this with Jack Daniels as well, to give it another taste. And, again, I might increase the whiskey a little, to give it a bit more kick. Another thing that just occurred to me is that I should have used a splash of the Fee Brothers mint bitters I have. I could probably have used some in both drinks, but it would work especially well in the julep. Need some way to use it!
As my friend Michael is off traveling the globe, I was on my own this evening. So I decided to watch Ju-on : The Grudge. And man, was that a scary movie! I completely lost track of the timeline (and I think maybe the director did too), but as a series of terrifying vignettes about a haunted house with a grudge, it was outstanding! If you like scary movies, you have to watch this one.