Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thirsty Thursday: Strawberry Mint Julep

 Today's drink actually takes some planning.

I apologize for that, but I do promise that your outcome will be amazing.  I picked up the original recipe from Cookie and Kate, but I thought it was a little vague.

As I made it, it turns out that mine will be a bit vague as well.

I made 8 (16oz) drinks, plus 2 non-alcoholic drinks.  My measurements will reflect as such.
 First off, the strawberry infused bourbon.

I had Jack Daniels in the house, so it was whiskey instead.

Rough estimate of ingredient ratio:
1 cup of whiskey
1/2 pound of strawberries

I started with about 2 cups (JD) and around 1 pound of strawberries.  I basically quartered my strawberries (cut off the stems), and kept throwing them into the bottle until the liquor was completely filled with strawberries.

From there, you put the bottle in a dark space (I chose my pantry) for 3-7 days.  Every day, give the bottle a bottom over top rotation to readjust the strawberries and mix up the liquor.  You don't have to shake it, just one spin will help the infusion process.

Mint Julep Ingredients for one 16oz jar:
7 mint leaves
1-2 tables spoons of honey
1/4 c of strawberry infused whiskey/bourbon (more if you don't want to add Sprite)
ice (to fill the entire glass)
about 1/2 c of Sprite (or not if you're more of a straight up person)

* For my jars, I used both wide mouth and regular jars.  I just used everything I had in stock.
 Directions (*skip to the very bottom for a non-alcoholic idea):
1. Add mint leaves to your glasses.  For my glasses, I had a variety of mint leaf sizes, so I added the biggest leaves first, then the mediums, then the small leaves last.  Not because I'm weird, but I wanted to make sure that the quality and quantity of the mint was the same across all the glasses.
2. Cover mint with honey.  I just poured it in, but I basically aimed to cover the entire bottom of the jar and all the leaves with honey.
3. Muddle the mint in the honey.  If you have fancy contraptions, go ahead and use them.  I had a hand held mixer's beater.  I just used that, muddling the mint until it was slightly broken down in the honey.
4. Strain the strawberries from the liquor.  I used a cheese cloth, but you can use any strainer that will keep out the strawberry particles.
5. Measure out the appropriate level of liquor and add to your glasses.
6. Stir the liquor, mint, and honey together.  This will sweeten the beverage and also insure you don't have a huge clump of honey at the bottom of your glass.
7. Now, fill up your glass with ice.  I wanted a nice cold beverage, so I filled it as high as possible.  Use your own discretion.
8. Top off glass with Sprite, and give it a final stir.

Since I was using mason jars, I then covered the glass with a cupcake liner and screwed on the lid.  This keeps the bugs out, and also will hold your straw in place. I pre-poke a little hole in the cupcake liner with a pen tip (skewer, ice pick, whatever is handy) and then place the straw in.

To re-mix the drink, my brother in law recommends blowing a light bubble in through your straw.  That will help in the process.

Finally, clink in cheers and good health, and enjoy!
Non-alcoholic Idea:
For the tween at the party, I made this version of the drink:
1. Follow steps 1-3 above, muddling the mint in the honey.
2. Quarter (or more) 4 fresh strawberries, and add them to the glass.
3. Mix together the honey, mint, and strawberries.
4. Fill up glass with ice.
5. Top with Sprite, cover and enjoy.

While this is not nearly as fun as the alcoholic version (in my opinion), it is still a fun mocktail that anyone can enjoy.  I though it might turn out too sweet, but I had one after the rest had run out and I was excited about how good it was.

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