The number of posts which I’ve started with some variation on “I know spring is finally here because…” looms large as I wonder how to introduce the first fresh mint drink of the year. I was delighted to finally see gorgeous mint in the produce section yesterday, and bought if without a second thought.

Mint is such a pervasive flavor in our culture that it’s hard to remember that the plant itself doesn’t taste like a Starlite mint or toothpaste. Our (or, at least, my) idea of a one-note, mouthwash mint clashes with fine drink-mixing. Whiskey and mouthwash? No thanks. But anyone who’s had a properly made mint julep (those served at the Derby may not be the best exemplar) knows that real mint is transformative.

This particular recipe is a smash, rather than a julep (shaken and strained, rather than bruised and stirred), and comes courtesy of David Wondrich himself. Instead of bourbon or brandy, the B-9 uses rye and a bit of dark, Jamaican rum. Much like the Georgia Julep, which brings in peach brandy instead of sugar in order to add a new flavor dimension, the B-9 uses orange liqueur as a sweetener. Technically it should be made with Grand Marnier, but I subbed some decent curaçao instead.

The B-9

  • 2 oz rye whiskey (Wild Turkey)
  • 1/2 oz Jamaican rum (Smith & Cross)
  • 1/2 oz curaçao (Senior Curaçao)
  • 5-7 fresh mint leaves
    Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake hard with ice for at least 30 seconds – you want to pulp the mint. Double-strain through fine mesh into a cocktail glass; garnish with a mint leaf.