SideBar: Mint Julep, Modified

Mint Julep Modified 10

This year, Ottawa marked one of the hottest summers on record. I’m sure that wherever you are, the super el Niño occurring this year really messed with your summer. Here in Ottawa, summer is very reluctant to let go, and the temperatures here in September are only now just starting to cool down to what they should be.

Mint Julep Modified 11

As it still feels like summer, why not enjoy a summer beverage on this lovely Friday? Yes, it’s yet another bourbon drink, but bourbon is such a very adaptable alcohol – there’s so much you can do with it (and Trav drinks a heckuva lot of it). This is a twist on the traditional mint julep, which is made with bourbon and mint and sugar – that’s it.

Mint Julep Modified 1

Trav and I decided to take advantage of the massive amounts of lemon balm taking over my garden (so I can make more lemon balm tea) and do a wee varietal (lemon balm is also mint, after all). We also used honey syrup instead of regular sugar syrup (which is 1 cup honey dissolved in 1 cup hot water).

Mint Julep Modified 3

Grab yourself a glass of some sort. I didn’t have any silver julep cups on hand because I’m not that fancy, so this is just a tumbler that used to be filled with weird Italian effervescents for digestion. Shove about 8 or 9 lemon balm leaves into the bottom of the glass.

Mint Julep Modified 4

Tip in 3/4 oz honey syrup, and using a muddler (or a spurtle, because I’m not fancy enough to own a muddler), proceed to squish the crap out of your honeyed leaves.

Mint Julep Modified 5

Squish, squish, squish.

Mint Julep Modified 6

Now pour in some decent booze, about 2oz bourbon to be exact. I like this Evan Williams kind for this drink because it’s a little fruity.

Mint Julep Modified 7

Top with some ice cubes. Or one giant one. The ice will hold the leaves down so you don’t sip them up accidentally.

Mint Julep Modified 8

Sip it whilst calmly admiring your bumper crop of lemon balm.

Mint Julep Modified 9

Iced Coffee (ARRRR MATEY!)

Iced Coffee

My man loves his morning coffee.  He also loves it with whipping cream.  He SAYS he’s just helping me use up the excess cream, but if there is some in the house, the first place it goes is in his coffee.  Oh, don’t have enough anymore for baking?  Let’s get some more!  And so it goes.  He’s a devious one, that man.

Iced Coffee

In addition to being International Talk Like a Pirate Day (I’m not making this up), today also marks the seventh anniversary of our first date.  We have been together for most of our adult lives.  That is so weird.  Anyway, this one is for the Pie, from his saucy sea wench.  ARRRRR!

Most of the recipes for iced coffee I found on the internet involved using instant coffee granules.  I personally feel like instant coffee tastes like beef broth and should only be used in baking.  So this recipe (which I have made up all with my own brain meats) uses fresh ground, fresh brewed coffee, and I won’t have it any other way.

I don’t want to water down any of my coffee goodness, so first I made a tray of coffee-ice cubes.  There’s your caffeine — with a crunch.

Iced Coffee

Then I made some more coffee, added a ton of cane sugar to it (it will dissolve best when hot), and let it cool.  And stuck it in the fridge so it was cold.  I wouldn’t leave coffee in the fridge for too long, lest it start to taste like old, cold coffee.  Maybe a day or two at best.

Iced Coffee

When it comes to the mixing, I think the best ratio is 1 part coffee ice cubes : 1 part whipping cream : 2 parts cold sweet coffee.  For two people, this worked out to 1 cup ice cubes, 1 cup cream, and 2 cups coffee.

Iced Coffee

Blend that sucker silly.

Iced Coffee

Pour it in a pretty glass (or your man’s favourite glass, thanks Cait), and drink it up.

Iced Coffee

Try some variations.  Use milk instead of cream for a beverage that won’t kill you as quickly (and deliciously).  Squirt in some chocolate syrup for a mocha iced coffee.  Add vanilla and white chocolate for a white chocolate latte.  Use espresso instead of coffee and create yourself an iced cappucino or mochacino.  Up the proportion of ice to liquid coffee if you like your coffee a little on the slushy side.  The possibilities are nearly endless!

Iced Coffee