Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lemon Basil Julep

In this hot summer heat wave, its good to look to the drinks that our Cocktail forefathers turned to before the days of air-conditioning.  You may be filled with visions of fine southern gentlemen and their dainty ladies sipping Juleps on the porch of their plantation, but this drink is rooted in pre-antebellum times and was far more global.  First of all, as a classification, it does not have to have Bourbon in it, nor mint for that matter.  A Julep is all about the construction and perfect melding of sugar, spirit and ice.The Julep is one of the oldest cocktails and in the 1700's was used for medicinal purposes with all sorts of herbal relief, not just Mint.

So lets put a modern twist to this summer chiller and head to the Farmer's Market for some seasonal herbs.  Lemon Basil, which is now in season, has a crisp clean antiseptic quality to it.  It is heartier than regular basil and not as sweet with a verbena -like tang.  With a touch of sweetness from the honey syrup and a peppery bite from the Rye Whiskey, this frosty sipper certainly seems like just what the doctor would order on a sweltering day.  The metal Julep cup is a must here to create that nice frost on the cup.  If you don't have a silver Julep cup, the small part of a metal cocktail shaker will do in a pinch.

Lemon Basil Julep
2 oz Rye Whiskey (I like Rittenhouse 100 proof)
1/2 oz Honey Syrup*
Large sprigs of Lemon Basil
Crushed or shaved ice

Gently muddle about 7-8 leaves of lemon basil in the bottom of your julep cup with the honey syrup.  Add the Rye and a scoop of crushed ice. Stir until a frost forms on the outside of the julep cup.  Top with a big mound of snowy crushed ice and a big sprig of Lemon Basil.  Insert a straw cut short so your face is in the basil everytime you take a sip.  Sit back on the porch and sip the summer away.

*to make the honey syrup, mix equal parts honey and hot water until the honey pours freely.


patient boy said...

You have the Colonel's attention now.

WonderGirl said...

Well come into The Beagle on Ave A on a Sunday and I'll make you one.