It’s the Kentucky Derby this weekend. It is the fastest 2 minutes in sports and I am always amazed by these animals. What better excuse to stir up some drinks, put on a big ol’ hat and your cutest spring dress, and watch some horses run as fast as they can? But in order to look good in that spring dress, you must make sure you aren’t drinking too many calories. Am I right? Soooo, I am making a lower calorie mint julep. I promise that you won’t miss the sugar!
The key to this drink is to make it sweet enough to cut through the bourbon and minty enough to be refreshing. In order to cut through that bourbon, it takes a lot of simple syrup. Well, at least it does for me. That means a lot of sugar. And while I am mildly addicted to sugar, I try to cut it out where I can. I figured that in my adult beverages I should steer clear. So this time I made mint syrup using pure agave nectar.
I love using agave nectar as a sweetener because it isn’t sugar and it doesn’t have that horrible aftertaste that I get from other sweeteners like Splenda or Stevia. So sweeten up your mint julep as much as you need without feeling guilty. Then sip and cheer as these stunning horses race to the finish line!
Here’s what’s in my julep cup:
1 Tbsp. pure blue agave nectar
1 Tbsp. chopped mint, crushed in the bottom of the cup
1 shot of Kentucky bourbon
splash of sparkling water
First I put my mint and agave nectar in the cup and mash them together with a muddler. If you don’t have a muddler, the back of a spoon will work too.
Then I add the bourbon and crushed ice, filling the cup with ice. Cover the julep cup with a cocktail shaker and shake it all together. Leave it in the julep cup and add your splash of sparkling water and garnish with mint leaves.
A mint julep is a very simple drink to make. Making a lower calorie mint julep is just as simple. So get out your cocktail shaker and your Derby hat! You will look fabulous in that cute spring dress!