Shakespeare said that “there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” This year, things are different, there’s no getting around it. The key is to just make the best of it and not spend so much time worrying about how things should be that you miss out on good they can be. So, on this horseless derby day, we’re gonna have a Mint Julep in the shade. 

I have a love/hate relationship with this drink. I want to like it and sometimes I do, but I find that I often like the idea of a mint julep more than the reality. At its core, it is beyond simple, just four ingredients and one of those is ice, but when it’s right it is so good. 

I cheated on a couple of the steps here. One, I don’t actually own a silver julep cup, but my small shaker tin has a sweet ring around the base so it is gonna stand in. I also neglected to acquire crushed ice, so I took my large shaker tin and muddled ice in it. It was a bit of work, but maybe it was worth it. OK, with those obstacles out of the way we are ready to pop out to the garden and pick 3-4 sprigs of fresh mint. Wash it off with cool water, pick the leaves and drop them into the bottom of the chilled small shaker, add 1/2 ounce of simple syrup and muddle away. Don’t go crazy, just work the leaves to release the oils, we’re not making pesto here. Once you are satisfied with your muddle, add 2 1/2 ounces of a quality bourbon, preferably from Kentucky, I went with Weller 12. Mix these three ingredients and add the fourth, your crushed ice. Stir well, top with a fresh mint sprig and add a reusable straw. Sit back in the shade of a magnificent hat and contemplate the better times a coming, while enjoying what we have today. Stay home, stay safe and stay sane, my friends.