Adult + Kid Blackberry Mint Juleps

Did you watch the Kentucky Derby this weekend? I *love* it. And I spent much of Sunday trying to pass along my limited horse racing knowledge to My Tiny Sous Chef in hopes she would get excited enough to want to watch together. This mainly involved reciting every horse’s name a minimum of 27 times and reminding her which color the jockeys were wearing. But we got in the spirit! And what would a Kentucky Derby party — even one that’s just you and your almost-5-year-old — be without mint juleps?? We decided to get fancy and also to make grown-up and kiddie versions of our concoction. And they came out good enough to share. Though I’ll admit I need to work on my cocktail photography. Apologies in advance. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDbermintju4
for both
* 1 pint blackberries
* 1-2T water

adult version
* 2T simple syrup
* 4-6 mint leaves, torn, plus extra for garnish
* 1.5-2oz bourbon
* tonic water
* ice cubes

kiddie version
* 1T simple syrup
* 2-4 mint leaves, torn, plus extra for garnish
* tonic water
* ice cubes

WHAT TO DO
Start by making your simple syrup. It’s just equal parts sugar and water (start with a few tablespoons of each and if you need more, make more – if you have more than you need, just store it in the fridge for your next cocktail!). Bring the water to a boil, stirring constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved. Then simmer 2-3 minutes. Allow it to cool while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

bermintju1

Make a quick blackberry puree. Pour the whole pint of berries into the blender with the water and blend on high until smooth. Strain the puree over a glass or bowl through a mesh strainer, using the back of a spoon to help mash down all the bits and push the liquid through.

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To make the adult version, first add the torn mint leaves and the simple syrup to your glass and muddle gently. If you don’t have a muddler (I do not, it turns out), just use the back side of a spoon. Be gentle, though. You want to release the oils from the leaves, not smash it all up.

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Add the bourbon and blackberry puree and stir gently to combine. Add a splash of tonic water and stir again. Finally, add ice cubes and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Cheers!

For the kiddie version, start the same way. Muddle your mint leaves gently with the simple syrup. Add the blackberry puree and tonic water and stir gently to combine. Again, add a few ice cubes and garnish with mint leaves. Don’t forget to clink glasses/cups!

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So did your horse win? Ours didn’t even place. We still loved every second of those two minutes, though!

Food for Thought: Birthdays!

Today was my birthday, and in an odd twist of fate, I had a random day off thanks to a company-only holiday, so instead of cooking a favorite meal, I decided to treat myself to a bunch of stuff I love, including driving up to one of our old ‘hoods to pick up a favorite meal we haven’t had in a while. But as I treated myself with edible/drinkable goodies all day (okay, fine, all weekend), it occurred to me how much food is a part of celebrating. My go-to birthday foods and sweets have changed a little over the years, but so have I, so I guess that makes sense. Anyway… so I wondered. What are your birthday food MUSTS? A favorite homemade dinner? A special restaurant? A cocktail toast? Ice cream cake? Here’s a sampling of how I food/drink celebrated my birthday the past few days. Now tell me how you do yours.