Cocktails for Derby Day and Spring

Cocktails for Derby Day and Spring
Frozen Mint Julep (by Julia Reed)

 Makes about 4 drinks


I love a frozen drink, I adore mint, and I have never met a variation on a julep that didn't make me deliriously happy. Here, I've created a sort of cross between a julep and a mojito. Though most of us think of a julep as the classic mint version with bourbon, a julep is defined as any drink utilizing alcohol and herbs, usually over shaved or crushed ice.


For this, I made a mint simple syrup and added a healthy dose of lime juice (that's where the mojito part comes in, plus the lime keeps the drink from being cloyingly sweet). My blender crushes ice beautifully and I crushed the ice for this so fine that it has an Icee-like consistency perfect for warm evenings. Our clear goblet is exactly the right-size glass for this cocktail -- any bigger and the ice would melt too fast.


  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups ice
  • 1/2 cup white rum
  • 4 tablespoons mint simple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

Put the ice in the blender and crush until fairly fine. Add the rest of the ingredients and crush again. (I used the ice crusher setting the first go round and the smoothie setting the second.) Taste and adjust -- you may want more syrup or lime or, indeed, more rum!

To make the simple syrup, use the directions from the above Rum Ramsey. As soon as the syrup is removed from the heat, throw in a handful of fresh mint, stems and all, and let steep for at least 15 minutes. Strain through a fine strainer. You'll have extra and it's an excellent thing to have on hand in the fridge!


Lavender Mint Lemonade with Vodka

Serves 8-10


  • 1 cup lavender sugar  (available online or at Whole Foods
  • 8 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch of mint plus mint for garnish
  • Juice of 4 lemons, plus lemon slices for garnish
  • 1 1/4 cups vodka
  • Fresh lavender sprigs for garnish

Combine lavender sugar and 1/2 cup of the water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and just until the sugar has dissolved - do not let the mixture color. Remove from the heat and submerge the mint in the mixture.


When the mixture has cooled, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large pitcher (if your sugar contains dried lavender flowers, use cheesecloth to strain.) Add enough ice to fill the pitcher halfway, along with remaining 8 cups of water, lemon juice, vodka, and ice, and stir. Pour into Reed Smythe clear, lagoon or amethyst tumblers. 

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