Back in the ’80s when I was little, there’s no question as to what my dad’s favourite drink was: beer (Old Vienna, to be exact). After a long day at work, while my mom was busy making dinner, Dad would relax in the kitchen or out on the porch with a cold OV in hand.
Us kids would be outside playing with our friends or running around the house, but if we happened to pass by Dad shortly after he got home, we knew what our job was: go get Dad a beer! For the longest time I liked being the “chosen one” who got to scamper downstairs, grab a bottle from the cold room and bringing it to Dad. I especially liked being the one to twist ff the cap. I would sometimes even sneak a taste of the bitter-tasting foam (beer is really gross when you’re six, by the way).
Over the years, Dad’s tastes have evolved quite a bit. He has turned into quite the skilled bartender of late, whipping up old fashioned libations for us when we visit, like the manhattan, mint julep or negroni. Last weekend I tasted my first mint julep, carefully and thoughtfully prepared by Dad, as my family sat out on the patio in the hot sun. It was bracingly strong for someone who is used to a refreshing mojito or gin and tonic, but the mint imparts a welcome freshness that manages to bring everything down a few notches.
As we enjoyed our cocktails and chatted, I couldn’t help but notice a familiar brown bottle on the table near Dad’s elbow that had somehow made its way in amongst our classy drinks: good old OV. Happily, some things never change.
Dad’s Mint Julep
- 2 1/2 oz bourbon
- 2 1/2 tsp simple syrup
- 2 sprigs fresh mint (keep one intact for garnish; remove the leaves from the other)
- Dash of bitters
- Crushed ice
In a cocktail glass, add the mint leaves and simple syrup and muddle until combined. Add the bourbon, water and bitters and stir. Top with ice and garnish with the sprig of mint.