I love this idea from Southern Living's new cookbook: A mint julep bar with assorted flavored syrups like Grapefruit-Honey and Peach-Basil for Derby Day parties. The concept would also make wonderful nonalcoholic spritzers by omitting the bourbon and adding club soda to the mixes.
- 3 to 5 fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons desired julep syrup
- Crushed ice
- 1⁄4 cup bourbon
- 1 fresh mint sprig
- Place mint leaves and syrup in a chilled julep cup, and muddle.
- Pack cup tightly with crushed ice; add bourbon and mint sprig.
Set up a mint julep bar with an assortment of flavored syrups at your next gathering
Mint syrup: Boil 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups water, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; add 15 fresh mint sprigs, and cool completely. Cover and chill 24 hours. Strain syrup; discard solids.
Grapefruit-honey syrup: Prepare mint syrup, reducing sugar to 1/2 cup and stirring 3⁄4 cup freshgrapefruit juice, 1/2 cup honey, 3 (2- x 4-inch) grapefruit rind strips, and rind from 1 lime, cut into strips, into sugar mixture with mint. For julep, muddle with 1 small grapefruit rind strip.
Peach-basil syrup: Prepare mint syrup, substituting basil for mint and stirring 2 (5.5-ounce) cans peach nectar and 1 split vanilla bean into sugar mixture with basil. For julep, muddle with 1 peach slice.
Blackberry syrup: Prepare mint syrup, adding 6 ounces fresh blackberries, halved, with mint. For julep, muddle with 2 fresh blackberries.
Pineapple-lemongrass syrup: Prepare mint syrup, reducing granulated sugar to 1 cup, adding 1/2 cup light brown sugar to granulated sugar and water, and stirring 1 cup pineapple juice, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, and 3 (3-inch) pieces fresh lemongrass into sugar mixture with mint after removing from heat. For julep, muddle with 1 small fresh pineapple chunk.