Nummies and Bevvies

Life Lessons Learned from the Garden

Despite having what I refer to as a “black thumb,” I’ve managed to maintain a modest herb garden in my postage stamp sized back yard. Using found rocks and bricks, we built two raised beds last summer and planted our favourites: parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, chives and mint.

Fast forward a year later and a bit of a “laissez faire” philosophy and our garden has transformed into a jungle of mint. The mint has strangled our basil. It has bludgeoned our poor rosemary into submission. The chives have survived, but I suspect they may have developed Stockholm Syndrome. In fact, the mint has even managed to gain ground on the ivy that had previously dominated our little green patch.

My backyard garden

My backyard garden

Desperate to use what we’ve grown, my husband has gone into heavy research to find new recipes. I, on the other hand, have just relied on the old stand-bys with greater frequency. By old stand-bys I mean I’ve been drinking a lot of mint juleps.

Mint Infused Bourbon

Rather than muddling, and having to pick bits of green leaf from your tongue, I make a mint infused bourbon. The alcohol naturally extracts the mint flavour and requires no effort, though a day’s patience

  • Take 3-4 stalks of mint, thoroughly rinse, strip leaves and place in a mason jar
  • Empty a bottle of cheap bourbon into a mason jar with the mint leaves and let sit for 8 hours
  • Strain out leaves

Simple Syrup

  • Dissolve sugar (cane or white preferred) into equal parts boiled water
  • Let cool

The Perfect Mint Julep

  • Fill a low-ball glass with (preferably chipped) ice
  • Pour equal parts mint infused bourbon and simple syrup over ice
  • Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint
  • Let sit for 3-5 minutes before drinking, allowing the ice to dissolve and bring out the fresh mint flavour

These mint juleps are the perfect drink for a sunny afternoon, whether you’re lounging with a good book or entertaining. It just goes to show that sometimes a bit of chaos can lead to something extraordinary. Especially when you have a bottle of bourbon on hand.