On a particularly hot day this summer, a girl I know from college posted a Facebook status about her wish for bourbon popsicles. That sounded like a fantastic plan to me. But alcohol has a much lower freezing temperature than water so it won’t freeze in the freezer. And since a mint julep is just mint, simple syrup and bourbon, I didn’t think a mint julep popsicle would work either.
I figured I needed to add something else to the mint julep to make it into a sorbet, and I thought sweet tea would be a great idea (I think I was subconsciously inspired by Southern Living to try that combination). I tried it with the sweet tea I had made for the rice, but that didn’t work very well because the tea was too watery. Using a mix of tea and simple syrup worked much better.
This isn’t quite as boozy as an actual mint julep (which was the downfall of many at our wedding reception), but you can taste the bourbon. So I wouldn’t recommend giving it to your 5-year-old or eating it for breakfast. But I would recommend it. Personalized mint julep cup not required.
Sweet tea mint julep sorbet (Makes a little less than a quart)
2 cups water
1 family-size tea bag (or two regular tea bags)
1 cup simple syrup*
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves
1 teaspoon lemon juice
*To make the simple syrup: Stir equal parts sugar and water together in a medium saucepan (I used 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar). Add a generous handful of (rinsed) mint leaves if you’d like the syrup to be a little minty. Bring mixture to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.
To make the sorbet: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a teapot or saucepan. Remove from heat and add teabag. Cover and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Discard teabag and chill tea until cool.
Once tea and simple syrup are cool, stir together the tea, 1 cup of simple syrup, the bourbon and the water. Rinse mint leaves, then cut them into small pieces (an easy way to do this is to roll them — or some of them — together into a cigarette shape and slice the roll as thinly as possible. Then chop the strips of mint a few times in the opposite direction).
Stir the chopped mint leaves into the mixture and add the lemon juice. If you taste the mixture at this point, it should be a little bit sweeter than you want the sorbet to be.
Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and process until frozen. Store sorbet in the freezer.