The Kentucky Derby is next week – I’m not necessarily someone who goes all out for it, but I do enjoy a good julep and a reason to day drink and eat wings or whatever happens to be put in front of me on a sunny Saturday afternoon. So, when Maker’s Mark asked if I wanted a free bottle of bourbon with which to concoct some new version of the classic Southern cocktail, I said “Hell yeah! Where’s the booze?” Then a few days later, I had a bottle, a julep cup and a few days to recipe test. I was going to make mint lemonade, but then I went to my usually fully stocked bodega and found that they didn’t have any mint. The rosemary looked nice and healthy, so I went with that instead. I feel like this ended up being a blessing in disguise. I’ve made mint juleps before, in the traditional manner, so why not try something new? I squeeze some lemons, infused some simple syrup with rosemary, mixed everything together with bourbon, crushed some ice in my blender (why hadn’t I been doing this all along?) and boom! Julep. The one thing I did this time around that I hadn’t before was sprinkle the top with a little powdered sugar. It looked super pretty and made the rosemary garnish look like a pine tree in the middle of winter – cute, right? This is a truly refreshing cocktail that I promise is easier to make than it may seem, and while the julep cup definitely makes you feel like a classy Southern belle, you can use any ol’ glass if you’re mixing these up for a crowd. Side note: I’m also entering these into the Maker’s Mark #JulepOff contest for a chance to win a trip to Kentucky (yeehaw), so if you wouldn’t mind repinning this recipe with the #JulepOff hashtag, that’d be just great. Thanks, ya’ll. Too much? Yeah, probably too much. Please forgive me.
I just love the bottle.
Speaking of the South, thanks everyone for your New Orleans recommendations. I’m so excited to go and I’ve noted everyone’s suggestions. Now I just need to prep for my trip. I need a big hat or something, I think. What else do fancy people in New Orleans wear? I’m also interested in going on a swamp tour to see gators, as well as going on a haunted cemetery tour to hopefully scare the beejeezus out of myself. And that’s just the start of Summer Vacation Syd 2015. We’re headed to Asbury Park for the 4th of July with a group of friends, then Baltimore to see my brother in August, followed by a trip to Virginia Beach with Kramer’s family. That’s not to mention the numerous trips I plan on taking to Rockaway Beach for frozen sangria, sun and sand. While I am sort of dreading the hot, humid summers that NYC has to offer, and I do hate worrying about getting into a bikini and all that, I do love the beach. I think it just takes a dip or two in the water for you to stop stressing out about your ~summer bod~ and just let yourself enjoy the weather. Or at least that is what I will continue to tell myself while I try and fail to get to the gym and eat salads for lunch every day. I think the solution is just to get one of those bathing suits that Liz Lemon wears on 30 Rock – the one she said that she saw Dame Judi Dench’s mother wearing in US Weekly. Sounds comfy.
Here we go!
I hope you have a juicer – I have one of those handheld ones that work really well.
Your rosemary syrup, cooling.
I loved this lemonade.
Build your juleps and sip into summer.
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1½ cups water
- 8 sprigs rosemary
- juice of 7 lemons (about 1⅓ cup)
- 1 cup rosemary simple syrup
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary (from the simple syrup)
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 2 ounces rosemary lemonade
- crushed ice
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- powdered sugar, for dusting
- First make your rosemary simple syrup. In a medium sized pot, combine your sugar and water over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar has fully dissolved, then remove it from the heat, add in your rosemary, and allow it to sit until cooled. The rosemary will infuse into the syrup as it cools. Strain the rosemary from the syrup and set aside to use later.
- To make your lemonade, juice 7 lemons to get about 1¼ cup of juice. Add in 1 cup of rosemary simple syrup, taste, and add more syrup if you like (some people like it more tart, others more sweet). Add 4 sprigs of rosemary from when you made the simple syrup to the lemonade and set it aside, or store before using for up to 3 days.
- Now you can make your julep. To make one drink, in your glass, combine 2 ounces of bourbon and 2 ounces of rosemary lemonade. To make crushed ice, I just grind ice cubes in my blender, or you can place a bunch of ice cubes in a sealed plastic bag, wrap a towel around it and crush the ice with a rolling pin. Either way, top the bourbon and lemonade with the ice, then garnish with a few sprigs of rosemary and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. There's enough lemonade to make at least 12-15 cocktails. If you're having a party, I recommend just combining equal parts bourbon and lemonade for easy mixing.