This variation on Henry Clay's 19th-century recipe is served at the Round Robin Bar at the Willard Hotel. Bartender Jim Hewes recommends using red-stemmed mint and Maker's Mark bourbon.
For richer bourbon flavor, Spirits columnist Jason Wilson recommends trying a higher-proof bourbon such as Wild Turkey 101-proof or Wild Turkey Rare Breed (108 proof). Be sure to use crushed ice, and serve this drink extremely cold, with frost on the glass. One variation: Instead of dusting with confectioners' sugar, add a tiny splash of rum at the end.
You may want to start with a glass that's spent time chilling in the freezer. And don't forget to serve this with a straw for sipping.
- 8 to 10 mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig, for garnish
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/2 ounces bourbon
- Sparkling water
- Crushed ice
- Twist of lemon peel, for garnish
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Chill a (tall) Collins glass in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Combine the mint leaves, sugar, 1 ounce of the bourbon and a splash of sparkling water in the chilled glass. Use a spoon or wooden muddler to gently crush (muddle) the mint into the mixture.
Add a handful of crushed ice and stir vigorously. Add the remaining 1 1/2 ounces of bourbon and a splash of sparkling water. Fill the glass to the brim with ice (tightly packed), then use a bar spoon or knife to agitate the mixture ("with relish" according to Jim Hewes) until frost appears on the outside of the glass. Garnish with the mint sprig and lemon twist, and dust the top with confectioners' sugar. Insert a straw and serve immediately.
From the Round Robin Bar at the Willard Hotel.
Tested by Michael Taylor.
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