Bluegrass Iced Tea: two Noodles make one drink!
This past week began on a sweet note with Black Raspberry Cheesecake Pots - my contribution to Hay Hay It's Donna Day, a great food blog event hosted this month by Mardi of Eat.Live.Travel.Write. Now, it comes to a refreshing close with yet another blog-to-blog collaboration - the Thirsty Thursday Challenge with the divine Diva on A Diet of Beach Eats.
As one of the first two participants in last month's inaugural event, I had the pleasure of choosing one of the designated ingredients for the next cocktail challenge. For inspiration, the husband and I looked to our garden to come up with an unusual yet workable element: cucumbers! Although they are in the same family as squash and gourds, and are commonly considered to be vegetables, cukes are actually closer to melons, my favorite summer fruits. So, as the Memorial Day weekend ushers in the summer season, we thought that a cucumber-y cocktail would be an excellent way of welcoming hot days and sultry nights.
However . . .
Although Mr. Noodle and I threw down this Thirsty Thursday Challenge to all comers, we must confess that our own thirsts demanded quenching with the other designated ingredient chosen by Suzy of Suzy's Goodies: bourbon.
While my husband prefers to drink spirits either neat or on the rocks, I like my hard liquor well-mixed in a cocktail. So, Diva's event was a perfect way for Mr. Noodle to concoct a refreshment that would maintain the smooth flavor of bourbon he so enjoys, with additional flavors that appeal to me. Once again, we found inspiration in the garden by infusing Kentucky bourbon (Jim Beam, in this case) with fresh rosemary and mint. The result is a deliciously cool cocktail, perfect for sipping as you sit on the porch on a hot, humid summer night - or just imagining you're sitting on a porch on a hot, humid summer night . . .
Bluegrass Iced Tea
This drink is akin to mint julep, the classic cocktail of The Kentucky Derby (that other May event), in its combination of bourbon, mint and sugar; however, our version is reminiscent of yet another favorite Southern sipper - sweet iced tea. As with most cocktails, the following measurements are really more like guidelines. Please feel free to adjust the amounts of ingredients to create the right flavor for yourself!
1 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
1 - 2 sprigs fresh rosemary,
Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
4 tsps superfine (caster) sugar
Juice of one small lime
Fill a lowball (a.k.a 'old-fashioned) or other 6-oz glass with mint and rosemary, then pour bourbon over the herbs until covered. Set aside and let steep for 3 to 6 hours. When done, strain out herbs and discard.
Divide infused bourbon equally between two lowball or 6-oz glasses. To each glass, add 2 tsps of sugar and 1/2 of lime juice, and stir to dissolve sugar. Add tonic water until mixture fills 2/3 of the glass, then add ice cubes to top. Serve with mint or rosemary sprigs.
Despite having bailed on our chosen ingredient, the husband and I are looking forward to seeing what fellow bloggers have done with the vegetable/fruit. If you're looking for some refreshing cocktail ideas to serve at your next summer soiree, please visit The Diva on a Diet at Beach Eats for an upcoming roundup of all entries to this month's Thirsty Thursday Challenge!