Get Your Mint On!

And, they’re off!

This is the 142nd anniversary of the Kentucky Derby. What does that mean? Mint Juleps, of course.

The Early Times Mint Julep Recipe2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint (spearmint is the favorite)
Crushed ice
Early Times Kentucky Whisky

Make simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight.

Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup.

Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

(Recipe from www.kentuckyderby.com/party, with permission)

Wondering how to grow your own spearmint? Nothing could be easier. However, there is one word of warning…CONTAINMENT. Mints become invasive, therefore, plant in a container or an area from which it can’t escape.

Easily grown from seed scattered on a moist surface, mint also transplants easily from purchased pots or from a friend’s garden. It thrives in moist shady areas and grows to 3′ tall. A light application of compost or a well-balanced fertilizer improves the quality.

Harvesting is easy, also. After the dew dries, cut the plant 3″ from the ground and preserve by drying, freezing, or storing in salt, sugar syrup, alcohol or oil. This method allows the mint oil’s distinctive taste and aroma to transfer to the medium for future use.

Aside from mint juleps, varieties of mints flavor a wide assortment of foods from salads to sauces and confections to ice cream. In the upcoming hot months, put spearmint in your lemonade (or beverage of choice). Of course, fresh mint has the strongest taste, so just pluck some, put it in a glass, and pour in the lemonade for a cool delightful thirst quencher.

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