When I wrote the initial post about how to stock your liquor cabinet I lumped whiskey and bourbon together. While I don’t think it is imperative that you have both I highly encourage it.
Because more liquor is just that- more liquor. And that is rarely a bad thing. Unless it is. Then please don’t.
Both mint juleps and old fashioneds I think are standouts for bourbon. You can make these with whiskey and no one will mind one bit. But buy bourbon and keep it on hand. If you can.
Mint juleps are a traditional southern drink and the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. Crushing the ice to smithereens is an extra step but one I seriously think you should take. Just wrap the ice in a towel and whack it with your rolling pin. Or do as I did and just whir it in your food processor. Either way you want tiny crushed ice bits. It is way cool when the outside of your glass freezes (ha ha ha).
Besides if you have been making drinks along with me so far you will already have the mint in your fridge. Or just grow a big patch outside your front door.
Old fashioneds are a new to me drink. Clearly they are not new new seeing as they are old fashioned (man I am on a roll). When I first started making these I was using real maraschino cherries. Oh my yuck. Thankfully I complained to a friend and he suggested using dark morello cherries from Trader Joe’s. What an easy swap and what a win.
Granted the morellos wont last for years on end in your fridge the same way but they are a great treat to appease a toddler while you are whipping up your drinks for the evening. Not that that has ever happened to me. Nor did I make him a virgin tequila sunrise because he wanted a drink like mommy’s.
The other ingredient you need to hunt down for old fashioneds are bitters. Bitters are a “liquor that is flavored with the sharp pungent taste of plant extracts and is used as an additive in cocktails.” In this case we are using Angostura bitters. One bottle is relatively cheap and will last maybe forever. Just do it. Being able to make old fashioneds is worth it.
Mint Julep (makes 1 drink)
Leaves from 4-5 mint sprigs
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
Mint sprig for garnish
Place the mint and simple syrup into a old-fashioned glass. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and to release the oil and aroma of the mint. Fill with crushed ice, pour the bourbon on top, and stir well until the glass becomes frosty. Garnish with the mint sprig.
Old Fashioned (makes 1 drink)
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 tsp sugar
1-2 morello cherries
1 lemon peel twist
Place the sugar in a glass and drop in the cherries. Muddle into a paste using a muddler or the back end of a spoon. Pour in bourbon, add a dash or two of bitters, fill with ice cubes, and stir.