This Saturday is Derby Day. Whether you care who comes in win, place or show or don’t even know what win, place or show means, it's a good bet that you'll be drinking a mint julep. While the pristinely simple cocktail is delicious in its original incarnation (bourbon, muddled mint, simple syrup and crushed ice), some creative bartenders think there’s room for improvement. Here, five new ways mixologists are putting their own spin on mint juleps.
With saffron. At New York City's Park Avenue Spring, bartender Bryan Schneider makes an aromatic and ultra-colorful Saffron-Minted Julep. Made with classic mix of bourbon, muddled mint and simple syrup, the drink features hand-crushed saffron-infused and mint-infused ices. The result: a mottled green and orange drink whose flavor evolves as the ice melts.
With gin. Brian Means of San Francisco’s Dirty Habit swaps out bourbon for Anchor’s Old Tom Gin (a slightly sweeter style of gin) in his Kitten Mintins. To make the light and seriously minty julep variation, he presses mint leaves in the bottom of a julep tin, then pours in the gin, Tempus Fugit Crème de Menthe, Montifaud Pineau de Charentes (a French aperitif) and allspice bitters. He adds crushed ice, swizzles the cocktail to mix and tops off with more ice.