Grapefruit Pomegranate Mint Julep

Grapefruit Pomegranate Mint Julep

Grapefruit Pomegranate Mint Julep

You may find this hard to believe, but I had my first EVER mint julep this past weekend.  I know, I know, you probably think I am this worldly, sophisticated cocktail guru who has tried and crafted every alcoholic beverage under the sun.  So following that logic, I must have consumed at least a dozen or so mint juleps, since once a year there is this big horse race called the Kentucky Derby, for which the mint julep is THE signature drink.  But while I’m sure I have watched the Kentucky Derby more than a few times, I never had the pleasure of tasting its trademark cocktail.

I must admit, I am not a big fan of the dark liquors, including bourbon, which is the main ingredient in a mint julep.  My dad was a big Jack Daniels fan, but I could never get accustomed to that dark liquor taste (and yes, I lump all the dark liquors- whiskey, bourbon, scotch- together).  Maybe my dad drank Jack Daniels because he knew he could keep it in the house without his curious teenaged kids siphoning it off when he was on his business trips.  In any event, I have always stuck by my clear liquors, although I’d like to think that I am amenable to trying new drinks.

Me and Gigi sometime in the 90s (I still had the bad perm)

Me and Gigi sometime in the 90s (I still had the bad perm)

So this past weekend, my friend Gigi invited us up to New York for her annual Kentucky Derby party, which also happened to be her birthday.  Gigi was my first friend when I moved to Florida after high school, and we have maintained our friendship throughout the decades.  When I moved to the East Coast in 2004, we managed to get together fairly often in New York City.  We hadn’t seen each other in awhile, and since I am always up for a party, I thought it would be a nice day trip.  I was hoping to try my first mint julep that day, but I was a little apprehensive.  Fort some reason, bourbon scares me.  I’ve never had a bad experience with it, because, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve never had more than a sip.  So I was pleasantly surprised when I had the first taste of my mint julep and found that it was more minty than bourbon-y.  I could taste the bourbon, don’t get me wrong, but the mint julep was a surprisingly tasty combination of hard liquor and mint simple syrup.  I couldn’t imagine that a combination of those two ingredients would work, but it does.

But that doesn’t mean I am featuring a traditional mint julep in this week’s post!

While I was researching mint juleps online, I found another mint julep recipe- the gin peach mint julep.  I made one and I wasn’t impressed.  The combination of gin and peach liqueur tasted more like medicine than a refreshing cocktail.  So I thought- well, let’s loosely define a mint julep as a beverage whose key ingredients are mint leaves and club soda.  And then I poured the magic medley- grapefruit vodka and Pama pomegranate liqueur.  And voila!  A new mint julep was born.  You might not think that grapefruit and pomegranate would taste good together, but trust me, they do. This one is SO good, I think I will have one during both the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.  You know, now that I am a seasoned horse racing fan.

Grapefruit Pomegranate Mint Julep

2 oz grapefruit vodka

1 oz Pama pomegranate liqueur

7-8 mint leaves, shredded to release the mint

club soda

Pour liquors into a glass with crushed ice and mint leaves.  Top with about 4 oz club soda.

To use a tired horse-racing metaphor, this drink is so tasty, you can bet on it to win, place AND show.  (Groan)

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