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Mint julep recipes for the 2012 Kentucky Derby

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The best mint julep recipe; the ultimate mint julep recipe. Classic cocktail the mint julep is on the collective mind tonight--with the spring-season Kentucky Derby well on its way, they are a trending topic. According to the Kentucky Derby website, mint juleps are the drink of choice on May 5, but it's hard to understand how one recipe would be better than another when there are only four ingredients. That is, unless you're Martha Stuart; she puts blackberry in hers.

Here are the four key ingredients in a true mint julep:

  • Bourbon (from Kentucky, one hopes)
  • Sugar
  • Ice (sometimes, water, too)
  • Mint (sprigs, not Life-Savers)

The mint goes in first, then the sugar, then ice, then the bourbon. Shake it all about, and you have a mint julep. There's some debate about where the mint goes and when; that's something for the gourmet to decide.

Below are three different mint julep recipes. Whether they're “best” or “ultimate” is up to you to decide. Of course, if you try them all during the 2012 Kentucky Derby, you probably won't be able to tell anyway and will be seeing two Supermoons at sunset. According to this men's magazine, today's mint julep is too sweet and nasty. The original was much more stiff, with three ounces of whiskey. Here's that original recipe; they say you can also add Jamaica rum if you like a little extra flavor and offer some tips for making the mint flavor come out.

Kentucky Derby: The horseracing site's mint julep requires there to be a special silver cup. They also recommend a specific brand of bourbon. The recipe calls for a syrup to be made first, and also adds water. It looks a little like a frappucino. Accprding to Epicurious, what you'll buy at the Kentucky Derby is pre-mixed and nasty.

Martha Stewart: Here's that blackberry recipe. The recipe sets the tartness of blackberries off agains the sweetness of the syrupy cocktail. You need a pint of blackberries and extra mint for that all-important Martha Stewart garnish. You can use a blender for this one.

Do you have a preferred mint julep recipe, or will you be partaking of a mint julep on Derby Day 2012?

To get the latest Seasonal Trends updates, subscribe to this column here, or view it in your feed reader. Scroll down for more articles and to comment. Linda Gentile, the National covers the circle of the year from the standpoint of its holidays, seasons and “times,” the Kentucky Derby included.



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