Win, Place, Show -- The Mint Julep
Three is an important number in horse racing. Think about it -- the Triple Crown, the number of the most common bets (win, place, or show), and the name of a high reward bet (the trifecta). Three is also the number of ingredients in the Mint Julep, which is famously associated with the Kentucky Derby. The Mint Julep is an excellent cocktail for any day of the year.
2.5 ounces bourbon
6-8 mint leaves
.5 ounces super simple syrup
Combine the mint and super simple syrup into a cocktail glass, gently muddle, add the bourbon, add crushed ice, stir as if you're Secretariat coming down the home stretch at Churchill Downs, and enjoy the taste of liquid victory. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Purists will say you have to use sugar cubes instead of simple syrup, and you have to use a silver or pewter cup. Go ahead if you want to, but like the fancy hats you see at the Derby, they are not necessary. A quick word about muddling -- the key word is gently. Don't beat the hell out of it. The muddler serves double duty because you can use it to crush the ice (you can beat the hell out of this). If you do not have a muddler, the bottom of a spoon or the handle of a knife will work.
Traditionally the Mint Julep uses bourbon, for many years the Derby served one that used a non-bourbon whiskey. Click here for a good article on the subject from Caroline Padilla at Eater. Bourbon, which legally only can be made in the United States (not just Kentucky), must contain at least 51% corn and be aged in new charred oak barrels. Just remember -- all bourbon is whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.
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