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Mint Julep Recipe: How To Drink With Class During The Kentucky Derby

Precious few sporting events are associated with their own signature drinks. The Super Bowl has light beer. The World Series has light beer. The Stanley Cup... okay, you know what, the signature drink of nearly every American sporting event is light beer. The most familiar exception, of course, is the Kentucky Derby's mint julep.

The recipe for the fabled mint julep is light beer and mouthwash always in demand this time of year. As such, I have enlisted the help of my brother, Kevin, who is a bartender at Ramsi's Cafe on the World here in Louisville. Here is his recipe, as told to me:

What you'll need:
Bourbon (preferably a sweet bourbon, such as Maker's Mark or Weller's)
Fresh mint leaves (if you purchase them beforehand, wrap the stems in a paper towel and place them in water)
Table sugar
Crushed ice (not chipper or cubed; if necessary, throw ice in a bag and take a hammer to it)
Muddler (if you don't have one, a wooden spoon will suffice)

Place the mint and sugar in the glass and muddle them -- in other words, gently smash them by tapping them with the muddler or spoon. Don't separate the mint, because you don't want chunks of it floating loosely in the drink. Add two shots of bourbon and enough crushed ice for the ice to rise over the drink. Give it a toss by pouring it into a shaker (or another glass, if necessary) and back into the original glass. Serve.

If you're going to making a good number of these, he recommends using a setup. Place a dozen or more glasses to the side and prepare them by muddling the dry ingredients (the mint and sugar) together. They'll be fine to sit for a while before you're ready to prepare the drinks.