My absolute favorite cocktail of all-time has to be a Mint Julep. The muddling of the mint brings out a great aroma and flavor to the drink. And the bourbon serves as a great compliment. I suppose I became a fan on my first trip to New Orleans more than a decade ago. Every time I go back, I make sure to get my fill. It seems so few bars have fresh mint on-hand outside of NOLA, so when I want one, my best bet is to make my own.
From time to time, however, I’m on the look-out for new twists on classic cocktails so I thought there couldn’t be a better place to start than my favorite. Seeing how basil has become a new passion, this was a no-brainer.
Don’t even think about using anything but a quality bourbon for this basil julep — or even a mint julep.
Fresh Basil Julep
- 3 fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon basil simple syrup
- Crushed ice
- 1 oz of bourbon (you need a quality spirit here, so don’t you dare skimp)
- 1 fresh basil sprig
- powdered sugar (optional, though I don’t prefer)
Place the basil leaves and basil simple syrup in a tall glass. Gently press the leaves against the sides of the glass with the back of a spoon or muddler to release the flavor. Add crushed ice and pack tightly, pour bourbon over the ice and add a basil sprig for garnish. Easy!
If you aren’t up for making your own basil simple syrup, shame, shame! This is a website dedicated to growing your own basil so no excuses. However, if you don’t have enough on-hand to make your syrup recipe, you may find it in specialty grocers like Whole Foods or Central Market. And if you have a really great liquor store in your area (in my case Spec’s) you can probably find it there as well.