A riff on the Kentucky Derby classic Mint Julep, this Citrus Mint Julep recipe is made with an easy infused orange syrup. Smoothing out the bourbon flavor, this citrus mint julep a great introduction to bourbon cocktails and the syrup makes a great mocktail!.
History of the (Citrus) Mint Julep:
This weekend marks the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. As much a cultural event as a horserace, the Derby is perhaps best known by it’s associated libation – the Mint Julep. The Mint Julep is one of the oldest and most iconic cocktails in America. It’s exact origin is lost to history but it’s thought that the Mint Julep is based upon an Arabic jurap – a drink made with rosepetals and rosewater. When the drink made it to the mediterranean the rosepetals and rosewater were replaced with mint. In the U.S. it’s thought that rye, rum or cognac was added. Interestingly enough, the julep, as it was now called was a morning drink – thought to be good for one’s health and the ideal way to start your day.
And given such a long history, who am I to quibble with that? So I bring you a riff of the traditional Julep – the Citrus Mint Julep – flavored with a light orange syrup and muddled with a fresh piece of cara cara orange, it imparts a lovely citrus flavor that rounds out the bourbon – perfect for those who aren’t sold on drinking straight bourbon! So, even if your not glued to the TV to watch the race, this Citrus Mint Julep is a perfect excuse to sit back and savor an American tradition – one sip at a time!
Orange Mint Julep
- Orange Syrup:
- 1 orange
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- For the Orange Mint Julep:
- 1 slice Cara Cara Orange
- 2 sprigs bunch fresh mint
- ½ oz. orange syrup
- 2 oz. good bourbon I used Elijah Craig
- orange bitters
- For the orange syrup: Using a peeler, remove the zest from the orange. In a small saucepan combine the orange zest, sugar and water. Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool and infuse for 2 hours. Strain into a small jar and refrigerate.
- For the Orange Mint Julep: In the bottom of a julep cup or old fashioned glass, muddle a small slice of cara cara orange with several mint leaves. Add 2 oz. of bourbon and ½ oz. orange syrup and stir to combine. Fill the glass with crushed ice and garnish with remaining mint sprig.