MINT JULEPS FOR A CROWD (Adapted from Food Network)
For a gathering, it ends up being a full time job making individual mint juleps (or any cocktail for that matter). I love having a specialty drink for a group that can be made in advance so that the host (ME) can enjoy their guests instead of playing bartender all night long. This recipe makes 8 mint juleps.
2 cups sugar
4 bunches mint, ends trimmed
2 1/2 cups bourbon
Combine the sugar and 2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat stirring until all sugar is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and submerge 3 bunches of mint.
Let stand at least 1 hour, or preferably overnight. Strain.
Stir together the mint simple syrup (you should have 2 1/2 cups) and bourbon in a pitcher. Add a couple of sprigs of mint for garnish. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 8 hours.
Pack 8 mint julep cups (or glasses) with crushed ice (I break up a couple leaves of mint a bit in each glass to ensure the oils from the leaves really permeate the drink). Pour 4 ounces of the mint julep mixture into each cup or glass; garnish with a mint sprig on top, and serve with a straw.