Spring!! It is finally here after a very long winter. Truthfully it is still very chilly where I am, and still too much snow for the end of March, but Spring weather is coming I just know it!
In the meantime, while I wait, I thought it was a good time for a cheeky Spring floral inspired cocktail.
I love whisky (and whiskey). It’s warming and comforting, spicy and intriguing. It is a delightful sip at the end of the day, curled up with a good book or when you need to right a few wrongs of the day. But sipping whisky on a warming Spring afternoon, doesn’t seem terribly practical… OK let’s be honest it doesn’t seem terribly socially acceptable any afternoon.
Amazing what a little mint can do!
The mint julep, a classic American cocktail made from a mixture of bourbon, sugar, water and mint, and most of us often associated it with horse racing. The julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby for almost a century and rumor has it nearly 120,000 juleps are sold at Churchill Downs over the two-day race period.
Yes southerns love their whiskey!
Each Spring on those wonderful first afternoons when it is warm enough to sit outside, there is nothing more delightful than a refreshing mint julep.
While the origins of the classic cocktail are debatable. One theory on the word julep is that it comes from
the Arab word julab, which translates to “rosewater.” Yes, you can see where I drew my inspiration for this cocktail!
I couldn’t help but think adding a touch of rosewater to this already fragrant, refreshing cocktail would just make it all the more inviting.
Rosewater is a nonalcoholic ingredient distilled from rose petals and frequently utilized in perfumes and cosmetics. Hence using too much can easily take your cocktail or culinary creation from aromatic to a tang of your grandmas perfume. Rosewater has a long culinary heritage in South Asia and the Middle East, where it is used to flavor sweets, ice cream and drinks.
Rosewater has a slightly romantic aura about it, which I think marries beautifully with the mint julep.
It is the very dream of drinks, the vision of sweet quaffings. The Bourbon and the mint are lovers. In the same land they live, on the same food they are fostered. The mint dips its infant leaf into the same stream that makes the bourbon what it is. The corn grows in the level lands through which small streams meander. By the brook-side the mint grows. As the little wavelets pass, they glide up to kiss the feet of the growing mint, the mint bends to salute them. Gracious and kind it is, living only for the sake of others. The crushing of it only makes its sweetness more apparent. Like a woman’s heart, it gives its sweetest aroma when bruised. Among the first to greet the spring, it comes. Beside the gurgling brooks that make music in the pastures it lives and thrives.
– J. Soule Smith, The Mint Julep: The Very Dream of Drinks, 1949
Just a slight coating of the glass with rosewater before filling it with ice, bourbon and mint, elevates this classic cocktail with beautiful floral aromas. And who doesn’t love the first smell of budding roses?
As mentioned above the classic mint julep has been the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby since 1938, and you can find the Derby’s recipe here. But I hope you enjoy my floral twist on this romantic whisky cocktail!
- ¼ tsp rose water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 5-6 mint leaves
- 2 oz bourbon
- soda water
- crushed ice
- mint leaves, for garnish
- rose petal, for garnish
- Place rose water into 12 oz glass (or julep glass), swirl around the bottom and sides of glass to coat.
- Add mint leaves and sugar, then crush slightly with wooden muddler or spoon to bruise the mint.
- Pack the glass with crushed ice.
- Pour over 2 oz of bourbon, and top with a splash of soda water.
- Stir and add more ice if necessary.
- Garnish with a few more mint leaves and a rose petal.
- Add a straw, serve and enjoy!
To celebrate Spring I’m collaborating with a few other food bloggers, so why not add a little pizazz to your weekend with one of these fabulous floral inspired cocktail recipes. Due to different time zones across, some of these posts may not be live right away; be sure to check back!
Coastal Orange Blossom Gin Cocktail by Justine Celina
Cucumber Basil Gin Fizz by The Girl on Bloor
Hopped White Lady by The Hesitant Chef
Lavender Orange Bees Knees by Mud on her Boots
Rhubarb Pisco Sour by My Kitchen Love
Saffron Cava Cocktail by Diversivore
Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea by Killing Thyme