Yes, it is totally the wrong time of year for this minty spring sip. However, since I was lucky enough to sample a lovely, strong version of the Mint Julep at Booker’s Crab Shack during a recent TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) meetup, I wanted to share it now instead of saving it for Derby Day.
Besides, bourbon is a nice, dark fall spirit, and I’m taking a gamble that the star ingredient, mint (which is joyously available in Calgary all year long), will evoke images of candy canes, not Kentucky blue grass. It’s a stiff sip and somewhat of an acquired taste, but stick with it — as the ice melts and dilutes the bourbon, you will find your minty-sweet happy place.
The taste of boozy candy cane in a glass? You decide.
- 2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
- 1/2 oz mint simple syrup*
- Crushed ice
- Mint sprig garnish
Pack a julep cup with crushed ice. Add bourbon and simple syrup, then swizzle a straw around in the ice to mix. Slap a mint sprig against your hand to release the essence, then poke the stem into the ice-hole where your straw was, as a garnish. Poke a new hole with the straw and serve. (This sounds like a lot of work and just the kind of task your seven-year-old will want to help with. Be sure and supervise or she might get a little sippy with your julep.)
*Mint simple syrup
- 2 bunches mint, stems removed, set aside enough sprigs for garnishes
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
Combine sugar and water and heat until the sugar is dissolved (be careful not to bring to a boil). Pour the syrup over the mint leaves in a bowl and let steep for 20 minutes. Using a fine strainer, remove mint from syrup, then cool syrup and refrigerate (discard the mint).
— Recipe courtesy Booker’s Crab Shack
The 100th annual Grey Cup takes place this Sunday (go Stampeders!) and if you’re looking to drink something more refined than a pint of beer, I’ve got just the cocktail for you. I was fortunate to receive a bottle of Gibson’s Finest 100th Grey Cup Limited Edition Canadian whiskey in the mail along with some recipes.
It’s sweet, tastes of maple and has been made special for the Grey Cup. Yum.
So for the past couple months I have been trying it in various drinks including a whiskey sour and a fizzy number called the Gibson’s Blueberry Pancake — the whiskey’s hint of maple lends itself to cocktails with citrus and other fuit. But ultimately I think the drink to mix up on Grey Cup Sunday — just the right combo of patriotism and whiskey — is the Gibson’s Maple Lemonade.
It’s pretty, patriotic and will help you cheer for your team. Go Stampeders!
True, lemonade and raspberries aren’t exactly seasonal come November, but they’ll lighten the mood should your team (the Argos) be losing. And the maple syrup and whiskey add just the right amount of sweetness and warmth on a cold fall night.
Gibson’s Maple Lemonade
- 1 oz Gibson’s Finest 100th Grey Cup Limited Edition Canadian whiskey
- 2-3 oz lemonade, to taste (I made my own using 1 part lemon juice, 1 part simple syrup and 1 part water. Yum.)
- 1 tbsp fresh raspberries (I used strawberries)
- 1 tsp maple syrup (as in 100 percent pure maple; not Aunt Jemima)
Muddle the berries and maple syrup at the bottom of a shaker, then add the whiskey and lemonade and shake. Pour contents into an ice filled rocks glass and garnish with a lemon wedge.
— Recipe courtesy Ginson’s Finest Canadian Whiskey
The taste of victory and, well, boozy maple lemonade in a glass.
Today is not only American Thanksgiving (happy turkey day!), it marks the one year anniversary since I started blogging. I began Drink – Play – Love as a way to share parenting, travel and cocktail adventures; to tell the weird and wonderful family stories (Sea Monkeys) and drink recipes (Daisy Duke) that would probably never make it to print in one of my other writing outlets.
So far I’ve written about Bennett’s autism and genetic condition, our fundraising campaign for his school and our amazing trip to Tanzania. On a humourous note I chronicled Bennett’s war against his underpants, our misadventures in Ixtapa and a playground fundrasier that went off the rails after party-goers drank too much rum punch.
The stories that have resonated most with readers? Personal ones like Avery’s bucket list and my rant against back-to-school shopping.
I am still having fun with Drink – Play – Love and I hope you are enjoying it. Please let me know what you think!