Keep It Cool

Keep It Cool: Enjoy a refreshing twist on a classic Southern cocktail
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With spring’s arrival, herbs are blooming once again, which means sweet and earthy cocktails are back in style. Mint julep, a fantastically refreshing warm-weather cocktail, checks all the boxes when it comes to a classic Southern drink—but if whiskey isn’t for you, you can still enjoy this sweet combination with a gin-based recipe from an Asheville mixologist. 

“Most people hear the word ‘julep,’ and they immediately think of the Kentucky Derby and bourbon . . . but there's a whole lot of other juleps out there. It's actually a whole category of drinks on its own,” explains self-proclaimed cocktail nerd and co-owner of an upscale, Montford-area bar Chall Gray. Chall, Lucia Gray, and Jay Sanders co-own the establishment, which was founded in 2017. According to Chall, “gins have a broad spectrum of flavor profiles from one to another,” from fruity to floral to dry, and in order to compliment the light, sweet taste of a julep, it’s important to use a botanical gin for this recipe—Chall recommends The Botanist for the best flavor profile. 

Short Court Julep
Courtesy of Chall Gray, Little Jumbo
(Yields 1 drink)

2-3 sprigs mint
2 oz The Botanist Gin
1/4 oz Saler’s Gentiane Liqueur
1/4 oz lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup

Add all the ingredients to a julep cup. Gently muddle the mint. Add crushed ice. Stir until the outside of the cup becomes frosted, then add more crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Tip:  Make sure the drink has plenty of ice. Juleps need to be diluted more than the average cocktail, so using crushed ice is best.

Little Jumbo
241 Broadway St., Asheville
Sunday-Thursday 4 p.m.-
11 p.m., Friday & Saturday 
4 p.m.- 1 a.m.
(828) 417-4783