Cocktails: Julep Iced Tea

On a hot summer day, a well-made, ice-cold julep in a frosted silver cup is about as refreshing as it gets. But I often find myself running into the same problem when drinking juleps – it seems to take just a few sips and my sweet, minty bourbon concoction is gone, leaving me with a mess of slowly melting ice water in a cold metal cup with condensation dripping all over my clothes and shoes. As delicious of a drink it is, there’s not a whole lot of actual drink in a Mint Julep – just 2.5 oz in my go-to recipe. On a mid to high 90s sunny afternoon, going through a few of those too quickly can easily lead to trouble.

For all of those times when I’m looking for something that’s going to last a bit longer between refills without ending up with a weak-flavored, watery mess, a Julep Iced Tea is the perfect answer. The recipe below takes a bit of the work out of the refreshing summer classic – as there’s no muddling involved – and adds an extra kick of fresh mint flavor. Wild Turkey 101 works great here and any decent Bottled in Bond bourbon would do the job as well.  For the tea, there are plenty of varieties out there…take your pick. I’ve been using a medley made with spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint but for the most part, if it tastes good on its own it will probably work just fine here. Brew according to the instructions on the package and store in the fridge until cool.

 

Making the Drink

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz iced mint tea

  • 2 oz bourbon

  • 1 oz simple syrup

 

Preparation:

 

  1. Combine tea, bourbon, and simple in a mixing glass. Stir vigorously for 10-15 seconds until ice cold
  2. Fill a collins glass (or Moscow mule mug, mason jar, etc.) with crushed ice
  3. Strain drink into collins glass and top off with crushed ice if needed
  4. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wheel

 

This one works particularly well for making large batches to share with friends. Combine 4 cups tea, 2 cups bourbon, and 1 cup simple syrup in a large pitcher with ice – or better yet, keep cold in the fridge and pour over ice one drink at a time to reduce dilution.

 

Cheers!

Blake Smith

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