To commemorate the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby, I asked our restaurants team to show me the way to a great mint julep recipe. They left me in the capable hands of Dan Yeisley, the manager at our newest bar, Habitant. Digging up recipes from way back in the 18th and 19th centuries, he resurrected an old twist for this classic cocktail: gin.
Not to upset the entire state of Tennessee and bourbon lovers everywhere, he explained that the earliest recipes on record call for any variety of liquors–most often Cognac, brandy, gin or whiskey. After seeing that one of them also called for peach-flavored liqueur, he knew he’d found a winning combo.
Before I set out to make this gin mint julep at home to photograph, Dan invited me over to try his creation and to check out the swanky new Habitant lounge at our flagship store in downtown Seattle (where you can try those Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos as well as the two cocktails we featured over the holidays). Since the bar isn’t fully up and running yet (opening Monday, April 27), I was lucky enough to be served the very first cocktail ever poured there. And this mint julep was perfectly worthy of the occasion.
Botanical notes from the gin play well with the muddled mint, and the fruity peach liqueur supports the flavors well while rounding them all out with just the right amount of sweetness. Simple, delicious and very refreshing. Since there are only four ingredients in this recipe, be sure to use the best-quality products you can manage–there’s nothing here that will mask subpar flavors.
Mint Juleps with Gin and Peach
from Habitant manager, Dan Yeisley
Ingredients (per cocktail)
1 1/2 ounces gin (Genever style, if possible)
1/2 ounce peach liqueur
12 good-sized mint leaves
Mint sprigs to garnish
1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with about a cup of ice. Add mint and muddle until leaves are broken down into smaller pieces and oils released.
2. Add gin and peach liqueur. Stir or roll ingredients from one glass to another until combined. Avoid shaking, which can bruise the gin and overwork the mint.
4. Add more crushed ice, if needed, and top off the glass with club soda. Garnish with sprigs of mint.
Find more recipes to try in our What’s Cooking series. Have a favorite dish or beverage from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!