How To Make a Whole Pitcher of Mint Juleps
Makes 12 cocktails
- 1 cup
- 1 cup
- 3 bunches
fresh mint leaves, divided
- 30 ounces
Kentucky bourbon (such as Buffalo Trace)
- 1 liter
sparkling water or club soda, preferably chilled
Powdered sugar (optional)
Rolling pin or meat mallet
Julep cups or Old fashioned glasses
Make mint simple syrup: Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Submerge 1 cup tightly packed mint leaves in the liquid. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and infuse for 1 hour. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean, lidded jar. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
Muddle the mint and mix the cocktail: Drop 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves into the bottom of a pitcher. Muddle using a wooden spoon to release the mint's essential oils by pressing down and slightly twisting your utensil. The mint should appear bruised but not torn or blackened. Stir in the bourbon and mint simple syrup.
Crush the ice: Wrap ice cubes in a clean tea towel. Pound with a rolling pin or meat mallet to crush the ice.
Serve: Scoop enough ice into individual julep cups or Old Fashioned glasses until they are very full. Pour in 3 ounces of the bourbon and mint syrup mixture. Top with a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a dusting of powdered sugar, if desired
Make ahead: The bourbon and mint syrup mixture can be mixed up to 1 day in advance. Mint leaves remain green after muddling for 4 hours, so muddle just before guests arrive.
Storage: Refrigerate mint simple syrup for up to 1 week. Remove muddled mint from the bourbon and mint syrup mixture and refrigerate for up to 3 days.