Blueberry Mint Julep Spritzer

Blueberry Mint Julep Spritzer

Blueberry Mint Julep Spritzer

I love the sound of a mint julep. Sweetened up bourbon and mint? Yum. Plus all that tradition just appeals to the Southern girl in me. According to the Cocktail Times, the mint julep first appeared in print in 1803 as a “dram of spirituous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians in the morning.” Charming, right? If we all had a “dram” in the morning, we’d probably have more pleasant dispositions.

And, of course the mint julep has been served at every Kentucky Derby since 1938. I live in Maryland, host to Preakness, the second of the Triple Crown stakes, and I have to admit there’s some serious derby cocktail envy going on here. The official drink of Preakness is the slightly sad “Black-Eyed Susan,” which contains pineapple juice, orange juice, lime juice and vodka and tastes about as traditional as a bag of Skittles.

The thing about the mint julep in it’s pure and traditional form is that I can’t actually drink one. There’s a reason I don’t drink my bourbon neat and that reason is that I am an unashamed wimp. Call me gutless if you want, but I don’t enjoy drinking bourbon or any other liquor out of the bottle and prefer instead to dilute it with something tastier than liquor. While the mint julep gets a 10 in burst-of-flavor category, it’s still a little too strong.

I can hear ya’ll Kentucky folks whispering that I probably shouldn’t mess with the julep, but I’m stepping out of the traditional box and spritzing it up nineties style, adding some some seltzer water to make it more palatable to us novices of bourbon. And while I’m at it, I thought I’d add some flavor to the simple syrup too.

It’s been a good year for blueberries. They’re so abundant that my CSA has included them in our last four pick ups and is offering them in bulk, by the case. This has left me with the very pleasant task of incorporating blueberries into our weekly menus. You may have noticed last week’s Spicy Cucumber Noodles with Blueberries, or the Gingered Blueberry Shortcake two weeks ago.

If you’re thinking the flavored simple syrup in our modified mint julep is blueberry, you’re right. It’s unbelievably good. The blueberry and mint compliment each other nicely, and the lime seltzer dilutes the bourbon while adding its own bit of bubbly flavor.  To make this cocktail, you’ll need to start by making blueberry simple syrup. You’ll end up with enough to make several drinks – store the unused portion in a jar in the refrigerator.

Blueberry Mint Julep Spritzer
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Cocktails
Serves: 1
Ingredients
For the syrup
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ lemon, juice
For the cocktail
  • 2 Tablespoons blueberry simple syrup
  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 4 ounces lime flavored seltzer water
  • Mint for garnish
Instructions
  1. Make the syrup. Bring the blueberries, sugar and water to boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the blueberries from the juice with a fine sieve and discard the blueberries. Add the lemon juice to the syrup mixture, transfer to a jar and store any unused portion in the fridge.
  2. Make the cocktail. Pour 2 Tablespoons of the syrup into the bottom of the glass. Add the mint leaves, and crush the leaves against the side of the glass. Add the ice, follow by the bourbon and the seltzer water. Garnish with mint.

Homemade Orecchiette with Fava Beans and Ricotta

Handmade Orecchiette with Fava Beans & Ricotta

I’ve always loved orecchiette because of the cuteness factor. A traditional Southern Italian pasta, the word literally means “little ears,” which is exactly what it looks like. Adorable.  There’s also the huge bonus that it’s easy to make. You don’t need a pasta machine or any other speciality tools. Since it’s just a simple mixture… 

Read More »

Cold Cucumber Noodles with Blueberries and Spicy Dressing

Spicy Cucumber Noodles with Blueberries

The pitcher  and cups in this photograph –  old Dutch-made blue willow -  were in my great aunt Johnnie Dell Ridgdill’s tiny kitchen for as long as I can remember. Aunt Johnnie was a force in my childhood. A retired nurse, she helped my grandmother Colleen raise my mother after my mother’s father, Charles, died from colon cancer when… 

Read More »

Cherry Walnut Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Walnut Muffins

These are some serious, blow your mind muffins. The test kitchen ate a whole batch on a Sunday afternoon. My neighbor planned to share hers with a houseguest, but took one bite and reconsidered. I sent a batch to work with J, and his coworkers – a witty, sophisticated and discerning bunch – agreed that testing… 

Read More »

Gingered Blueberry Shortcake

Gingered Blueberry Shortcake

There’s a reason blueberries are a superfood. That deep blue color is from antioxidants that boost the immune system, prevent infections, and protect the brain and the heart from inflammation. They also can help reduce belly fat and fight urinary tract infections. Most importantly, they taste amazing. The best way to reap the healthy benefits of blueberries… 

Read More »

Cucumber & Tomato & Salad with Mint

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Mint

Well into the growing season, our community supported agriculture program and our garden have been providing all of the vegetables our families needs, with some left over for preserving, for a few weeks now. I hadn’t realized it until I ran into the grocery store the other day for some red wine vinegar, but it’s… 

Read More »

Grilled Peaches Over Vanilla Ice Cream, option 3

Grilled Peaches over Vanilla Ice Cream

Summertime is famous for outdoor cooking, especially anything grilled. Grilling fruit brings out its natural sugars and makes for a great summertime desert. And when I think dessert, I think ice cream. Now combine the two together and it’s mouth-watering magic. Many fruits are grillable, including apples, pineapple, peaches, pears, watermelon, and mango. Today’s dish… 

Read More »

This week's community supported agriculture bounty.

Nothing Wasted: Making the Most of a CSA or Garden

I’m loving all the beautiful vegetables I’m getting from Lancaster Farm Fresh, my community supported agriculture program. I know I’ve mentioned this before, and if I appear to be gushing, I guess I am. This afternoon’s take included some really beautiful fresh fava beans, bull’s blood beets, four huge heirloom tomatoes and some miniature white… 

Read More »

Rustic grilled pizza with zucchini, garlic, and basil leaves.

Rustic Grilled Pizza with Zucchini, Garlic & Fresh Basil

Spring may have come late this year, but the vegetables in my garden are coming in early. The alternating heat and rain the East Coast has been getting must be doing the trick, because my tomato plants are heavy with fruit and we’re flush with jalapeños and banana peppers too. Since we’re usually overrun by squash and… 

Read More »

Georgia Meet Bermuda Cocktail

Georgia meet Bermuda: Peach Sweet Tea & Rum

Some might say I travel a bit, why yes I do! Last month my roommate and I joined my parents on a fabulous cruise from Baltimore to Bermuda. Once at the island, we rented scooters to tour the island and it’s famous pink sand beaches. Of course, it wouldn’t be a fabulous island vacation without… 

Read More »

Homemade Hamburger Buns

Homemade Hamburger Buns

  With barbecue season just underway and the Fourth of July around the corner, I’m doing most of our cooking on the grill. It’s still cool enough in the evenings to enjoy the weather and a drink with J. while dinner cooks, so a recipe has to be pretty good these days to get me… 

Read More »