Farmer’s market strawberries. Fresh mint. Kentucky bourbon. These are the makings of a very American cocktail — the Strawberry Mint Julep.
There is nothing more American than a bourbon julep.
Heck, there is nothing more American than a cocktail.
While other countries have wines and liqueurs they’re famous for, we have cocktails. Britain started it — both our country and our cocktails — but Americans are the ones who refined and reinvented cocktails. Even during Prohibition, people used flavors and sweeteners to make scary household cleaners palatable. Cocktails are something of a tradition here.
There’s also nothing more American than bourbon. Chiefly known for its Kentucky roots, by law, it can only be called bourbon if it is made in the United States. (Kind-of like sparkling wine can only be called champagne if it was made from champagne grapes in the Champagne region of France.) If you’ll remember from my Kindred Spirits guide to bourbon, it is an oak barrel-aged, distilled spirit made from corn and it’s seeing a big boom in craft distilleries right now.
I can’t think of a spirit more fitting to celebrate July 4 with, so I created this Strawberry Mint Julep, which you can make with fresh or frozen strawberries and fresh mint from your garden.
The julep is famous for its role in the Kentucky Derby, but we forget we can drink them all year long. You’re ‘supposed to’ serve this drink in a julep cup to keep it ice cold, but I haven’t found one of those I like yet, so a glass or a Mason jar will do. I’ll be toasting you a Strawberry Mint Julep from North Carolina this weekend. Happy July 4, y’all! // susannah
P.S. If you like juleps, you might also like this basil julep I made last summer!
Click through for the Strawberry Mint Julep recipe!
A sweet summer take on the classic mint julep
- 1/4 cup bourbon
- 3 fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 6 mint leaves
- Place strawberries, mint leaves and sugar in a glass. Add half the bourbon and muddle together. Fill glass with ice and add the rest of the bourbon. Stir gently.