This Blueberry Basil Julep is made with blueberry simple syrup, fresh basil leaves, and bourbon. Enjoy it on Derby Day, at a cocktail party, or whenever your herb garden is overflowing.
A few weeks ago, the husband and I made another weekend road trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. While we wandered around distillery gift shops and waited for our tours, I had lots of time to read the cocktail recipes that were plastered all over the gift shops. In particular, a recipe for a pineapple basil julep at Jim Beam caught my eye. It was a little more complicated than I wanted my cocktail process to be, but I liked the idea of adding a fruity simple syrup to a julep. When we got home, I started playing bartender. (Except, I don’t know how to do any fancy bartender bottle-spinning moves, and I’m not very good at listening without interrupting, so maybe I’m NOT an awesome bartender.) At any rate, I tried a few cocktail concoctions, and this one was the bomb dot com.
Making a Blueberry Basil Julep
To make a Blueberry Basil Julep, you’re going to need… wait for it… blueberries, basil, and julep. I mean bourbon. Oh, and shaved ice (that one’s easy– either hack away at a big block of ice, or be like me and plop a few ice cubes into your blender. Boom– done). Technically, you also need a muddler, to ‘muddle’ the basil leaves, but you can make do without. If you don’t have one, use the end of a wooden spoon or a pestle to crush the leaves and release the flavors.
Start with the syrup– pour 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup of blueberries into a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down and let it simmer for a few minutes. Next, you should strain the blueberries through a mesh sieve or a cheesecloth, but quite honestly I prefer to dump this syrup into a blender. The syrup won’t be quite as crystal clear, but it’s easy, fast, and delicious. After you strain or blend the syrup, set it aside to cool.
Next, muddle a few basil leaves with a little bit of blueberry syrup in a chilled old fashioned glass or julep cup. (If you’re feeling a little crazy, throw in some mint leaves too- this is your julep, you do what you want with it!) Fill the glass with shaved ice, and then pour in the bourbon. (I use about 2 ounces of bourbon in my julep, but you just go ahead and pour however much bourbon you want.) Stir your cocktail to mix some of the leaves and syrup into the ice, and top with a couple small basil leaves. Sip slowly, smell the basil, and enjoy.
Read more about the Kentucky Bourbon Trail:
Blueberry Basil Julep
Blueberry Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup blueberries
Blueberry Basil Julep:
- 3-4 basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- 2 TB blueberry simple syrup
- 2 oz bourbon
- crushed ice
Make simple syrup by adding blueberries, sugar, and 1 cup water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 5 minutes. Pour syrup into blender and blend until smooth (or pour through a mesh sieve into a spouted container), and allow it to cool.
Chill an old-fashioned cocktail glass (or mint julep cup). Muddle basil leaves and simple syrup until leaves look softened and smell very fragrant. Fill glass with crushed ice, then pour bourbon over ice. Stir once or twice, top with more basil, and serve immediately.