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KITCHEN AIDE

A Derby Debate

April 27, 2008

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With but four ingredients - bourbon, sugar, fresh mint, and ice - mint juleps should be pretty straightforward. Yet aficionados find accord over only two factors: the use of both premium bourbon and finely crushed ice (it creates the frost on the exterior of the glass or silver julep cup). Every other aspect of their production is debated by those who love them. Simple syrup, granulated sugar, or superfine sugar? How many mint leaves? Torn, chopped, muddled, or unscathed? Straw or no? All I can do is state my own preferences. If any readers find heresy in my formula, I'd be happy to discuss it over juleps.

ADAM'S YANKEE MINT JULEPS
SERVES 4

48 fresh mint leaves, washed and dried, plus 4 small sprigs for garnish
4 teaspoons sugar
Finely crushed ice
1 1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon

In each of four chilled julep cups or Old Fashioned glasses, place 12 mint leaves and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Use a muddler or the back of a spoon to bruise the mint. Fill each cup with crushed ice, then add 1/3 cup of bourbon. Gently stir or swirl to blend, top each with a mint sprig, and serve at once.

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at cooking@globe.com.