Spring Has Sprung!

Flowers have started to bloom, pollen has made its dreaded appearance, and spring sporting events are upon us. Whether you are headed to Steeplechase and the Derby, or hanging out on the patio, Garden and Gun adds a spin to the traditional Mint Julip! Serve up this springy spirit for your first outdoor shindig this season!

Concord Grape Mint Julep
(Serves 4)

8 oz. bourbon
4 oz. lime juice, freshly squeezed
4 oz. mint simple syrup*
4 oz. Concord grape reduction**
4 cups ice
Mint sprigs, for garnish

Blend all ingredients in blender until ice is broken up and drink is uniformly smooth. Serve with a small bouquet of fresh mint sprigs.

*Mint Simple Syrup

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 bunch mint
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, add whole mint sprigs, and simmer for ten minutes. Strain and cool.

**Concord Grape Reduction
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
3 cloves
1⁄2 tsp. black peppercorn
1⁄2 tsp. white peppercorn
1⁄4 tsp. anise seed
1 quart Concord grapes
1⁄2 cup water

Make a sachet with all dry ingredients. Simmer sachet, grapes, and water in a saucepan over medium-low heat until grapes are broken down and soft (about 45 minutes), gradually adding more water if needed. Remove sachet, and strain the reduction to remove seeds. Cool uncovered in the refrigerator. Reduction may be kept refrigerated for up to a week and works great with many other applications (Garden & Gun magazine)

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