Friday Happy Hour: The Basil-Mint Julep

Apparently there’s some sort of race in Kentucky this weekend. I’m not so interested in that. But I am interested in Kentucky Bourbon and all the great things you can do with it. You might think that the amazing Mint Julep is your only choice for a weekend like this, but that’s not true! The Julep is basically a Smash – an old category of drinks that involves mint, sugar, spirits, and maybe a bunch of other fruit for garnish. So here’s a fun variation you could try this weekend: the Basil-Mint Julep. – Andrew

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Illustration by Shauna Lynn for Oh So Beautiful Paper

The Basil-Mint Julep

2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Mint Simple Syrup

1/2 oz Ginger Liqueur
Fresh Basil and Mint Leaves

To make the mint syrup: bring a cup of water to boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Stir in a cup of sugar until fully melted, then add a cup of chopped fresh mint leaves and remove from heat. Cover the syrup and let it cool, pulling out any leaves that turn black. Once the syrup has reached room temperature, strain out the mint leaves and then give them a squeeze to extract the last bit of sugar and mint oil. Store in the refrigerator.

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To make the drink: combine the syrup and liqueur in the bottom of a rocks glass, then add the basil leaves. Muddle the basil gently, then fill the glass with crushed ice. Add the bourbon and give it a stir. Garnish with more basil and fresh mint and enjoy.

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What you end up with is sweet and refreshing like a Mint Julep, but with a savory, herbal layer of basil and a hint of spiciness from the ginger liqueur. Basil is a tremendously aromatic and flavorful ingredient that can complement an already savory drink – like last year’s Bufala Negra – or transform the flavor profile of a drink like the Julep.

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So give it a try and play around with it. No recipes are sacred, not even the Mint Julep. Maybe try getting rid of the mint altogether and just enjoy a Basil Julep! There’s nothing that says you can’t have one of each.

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Don’t forget to let us know if you try any of our recipes. And if you do make one at home, you can use #osbphappyhour to share photos of these (or your own creations) on Instagram.

p.s. For those of you looking for fun tequila cocktail recipes for Cinco de Mayo, here are a few ideas: The Spring Fling, Peach Margarita, Pop Up PalomaCucumber-Peach Tequila Cobbler, Strawberry Tequila Daisy, and a Traditional Margarita

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper