The mint julep is a classic American cocktail, dating back to the 18th century, when mint-infused spirits were often administered with medicine to help calm stomach troubles (what a concept, huh?). The version of it that we now know, with muddled mint, sugar and bourbon over crushed ice, was exported from the American South in the mid-1850s, when Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky introduced the drink to his fellow politicians in Washington, D.C. at the Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel.
While still deeply associated with the Kentucky Derby (the famous annual horse race that takes place every year on the first weekend of May), mint juleps enjoy mainstream popularity all summer long, and in every corner of the U.S. What’s not to love? Refreshing, boozy and perhaps a little too easy drinking, the mint julep is truly the perfect cocktail on a hot day. We put our own spin on the mint julep, adding a splash of hard cider to introduce some tart apple to the mix. Whip up a batch for a Kentucky Derby party, or simply for sipping while enjoying some warm-weather vibes from your front porch.
10 mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
1 teaspoon sugar
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
4-6 oz Champlain Orchards Honeycrisp, Original, or Somerset hard cider
Place mint leaves in a rocks glass and top with sugar. Muddle mint and sugar until mint leaves break down and sugar begins to dissolve.
Add bourbon and ice and stir.
Top with hard cider and garnish with mint.
| Adapted from Cider Culture