To create a twist on the Mint Julep is, of course, not a particularly difficult thing. The cocktail does not have a lot of ingredients anyway, and most variations are not really the most complex of all recipes. On the contrary, when preparing a Mint Julep (and also its variants) it is most important to do all necessary steps precisely and correctly. Against this background mixing today’s cocktail felt a little bit like reinventing the wheel, but it is nonetheless a very nice variation of my all-time-favorite among the classic American cocktails.
Anyone who may ask what those exact and precise steps look like that I was talking about, I’d like to refer to my article on the Mint Julep that was written with much blood, sweat and tears. Well, blood cannot be found in today’s cocktail, but at least some sweet cherries of a similar color. Since the season for sweet cherries is in full bloom, the opportunity was naturally given to prepare a Cherry Rye Julep. Anyone who has been following my blog for a while or who knows some very nice cocktail recipes may think of the Stagger Lee Julep, which also uses a combination of whiskey and cherry with some cherry jam and cherry liqueur. However, the cherry notes in the Stagger Lee Julep are completely different for they are much sweeter and richer. Today’s Cherry Rye Julep, on the other hand, is more subtle, fruity, but also more “natural” in terms of cherry flavors and only relies on a small additional nuance to improve a simple Rye Mint julep. Nevertheless, the difference is there and it is absolutely delicious!
I decided to go for the 1776 Barrel Proof Rye whiskey in this cocktail. Therefore proceed with caution: with around 9 cl of a Rye Whiskey that comes at 58.6% ABV, this cocktail should not only mark the last one but definitely also the only drink of the evening!
Recipe “Rye Cherry Julep”:
9 cl 1776 Barrel Proof Rye Whiskey
3 twigs of mint + 1 more for garnish
1 bar spoon sugar syrup + a little more (see below)
4 black sweet cherries + 1 more for garnish
Preparation: First add 1 bar spoon of sugar syrup and the pitted cherries into your silver cup and muddle. Also add sprigs of mint and cautiously muddle them without shredding the leaves. They should be pressed only slightly to release their essential oils, try to muddle against the interior of the cup and to cover all of the interior surface. Then fill up the silver cup with crushed ice and form a cap of ice with your hands on top of the drink. Now slowly add the Rye and let it trickle through the ice until there is about half a centimeter left to the top edge of the cup. Then again add some sugar syrup and stop before it would overspill. Garnish with the leftover sprig of mint and a black sweet cherry.
Glass: Silver cup
Garnitur: twig of mint + sweet cherry
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online. Sweet cherries are available during the season at your local fruit trader, I like to buy mint in Turkish grocery stores.