Joy to the Julep
The bourbon-based Mint Julep, typically associated with Southern cuisine and the Kentucky Derby horse race in early May, can be doctored up as a holiday or winter warmer. For instance, Grand Isle Restaurant’s Mint Julep riff Forget the Horses ($12) mixes muddled mint leaves with Bulleit bourbon, and Nocello walnut liqueur.
At Park Avenue Winter, 200-seat seasonal restaurant in New York, the Yule Julep ($15) is dvonother festive variation; it combines rum, Cognac, port, spiced syrup and mint. The restaurant knows from seasonal fare: It closes its doors for two days each season and transforms the food, decor and even the name.
Before each switch-up, bar director Bryan Schneider encourages bartenders to submit their best recipes. This season, the Baked Alaska ($16) is a liquid substitute for the dessert, with gin, Yellow Chartreuse, orange bitters and a flamed lemon meringue.
Park Avenue Winter’s Gluhwein Sangria ($15) takes traditional sangria and mixes it with aquavit, citrus and mint.
Holiday cocktails take many forms, but during this emotional, frazzled time of the year, they are often more than a drink for bar and restaurant guests. As Ross says, “We went to energize the tired worker, refresh the weary shopper, calm the worked-up parents and comfort the homesick student.” — Additional reporting by Melissa Dowling
Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer and wine educator in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website, www.kellymagyarics.com, or on Twitter or Instagram @kmagyarics.