A Trio of Freshly Minted Cocktails

Got mint? Whether it's from your garden or the market, this intoxicating herb makes these cocktails extra refreshing. Mix up a batch, sit back and sip.

Gin Julep (left)

20 fresh mint leaves
2 oz. gin
1/4 oz. raw sugar syrup or brown sugar syrup*
1/4 oz. bourbon
3 to 4 small sprigs fresh mint for garnish
1 (2-inch) lemon twist

1. Add mint leaves, gin, sugar syrup and bourbon to a highball glass or silver Derby cup. Stir, gently bruising but not crushing mint leaves.

2. Add crushed ice to fill cup. Tap to settle as ice melts, adding more ice on top to form shallow dome. Insert mint sprigs into crushed ice to form bouquet. Coil lemon twist over top of drink; gently pull taut to release oils. Curl and drape over mint sprigs. Serve with small straw.

1 serving

TIP *Raw sugar (such as Sugar in the Raw), also known as Demerara or turbinado sugar, has large pale brown crystals and a mild molasses flavor. If unavailable, substitute brown sugar. Simmer 1/2 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water until sugar is dissolved. Cool.

Mint Sling (middle)

2 (3-inch) sprigs fresh mint, leaves removed
1 1/2 oz. brandy
1 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. Green Chartreuse liqueur
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
3 oz. seltzer water
1 small sprig fresh mint for garnish

1. Place mint leaves in bottom of tall Collins or highball glass; add brandy. Gently bruise mint with a muddler or bar spoon to release the oils into the brandy.

2. Add lime juice, Chartreuse, simple syrup and bitters; stir well. Add ice; top with seltzer. Stir mint so it floats throughout the drink. Rub small mint sprig between fingers to release aromas; garnish top of glass.

1 serving

Par Avion (right)

3 (3-inch) sprigs fresh mint, leaves removed
1 1/2 oz. white rum
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. peach liqueur
1/4 oz. simple syrup
3 oz. sparkling wine, Prosecco, Cava or Champagne

1. Reserve 1 mint leaf for garnish; place remaining leaves in cocktail shaker. Add all remaining ingredients, except sparkling wine. Fill cocktail shaker with ice; shake well.

2. Strain into coupe or wine glass; top with sparkling wine. Rub reserved mint leaf between fingers to release aromas; float mint leaf on the surface.

1 serving