The Noblers Know Cocktails

April 3, 2012

The art of the cocktail had for years lost its way. A cocktail list read more like a candy aisle with pomegranate this and chocolate espresso that. But even with the sudden resurgence of simple and elegant concoctions, it’s still possible to be overwhelmed and disappointed. So before you go off grabbing rare bitters, elderflower liqueur, and ice cubes from the arctic, I’d say start with my Basil Julep.

Which is exactly what the Noblers and I did this past Friday when we gathered…

We’ve all taken quite a liking to the Old Fashioned. Particularly with Rye as the base, it is hard to beat this guy. But part of the reason its close to unbeatable is it’s simplicity. Sugar, bitters, water, and Rye makes for a quick fix while most other interpretations of “cocktails” end up muddling your enthusiasm after you see all the steps involved. Which is why, when I’m working on new blends, the simpler the better. Take the Bertha Palmer for example. By making a big batch of this in advance (and this time adding some fresh mint to the steeping tea), all we needed was a steady pour (easier in the beginning of the night), and a solid splash of Woodford Reserve. Like I said when I originally posted the Bertha, I will most likely drink a million of these this summer.

But I was even more pumped about this Basil Julep. With the Kentucky Derby in our sights, I’ve been working on a menu for our soon to be annual party. The Mint Julep, while synonymous with the Derby, has never done it for me. In fact, I don’t think anyone likes the Mint Julep. I think no one wants to be the first to speak up so I’m doing it for you! Mint, while delicious, carries the sweetness of the drink a little too strong for me. Which is why I thought basil would be the perfect fix. Turns out, it is and once you’ve made this basil simple syrup (which is absurdly easy) the drink comes together even quicker than an Old Fashioned. Now you see why I’m so excited.

Even the newest member of the Nobler Experiment, Hoagie, was overwhelmed by how good this drink was!

Disclaimer: No pug puppies were actually drinking during the Nobler Experiment. What do think we are? Neanderthals!

The Basil Julep:

4 tsp basil syrup

1 lemon wedge

3 oz Bourbon (we used Buffalo Trace)

Mix all ingredients in a rocks glass with ice and garnish with a fresh basil leaf! Pair this sucker with some homemade pimento cheese!

Basil Syrup

2 cups water

1 1/2 cups of sugar

Juice of 1 Lemon

1 large bunch of basil

In a sauce pan, bring the water, sugar, and lemon juice to a simmer until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and add the basil. Let the syrup come to room temperature and store in the fridge. At this point you can remove the basil but the longer it stays in, the more intense the flavor. My recommendation is to remove the basil after 12 hours for better keeping.



  1. […] recipes to get ready for this year’s Kentucky Derby party and there’s no question my basil julep has made the cut. But we just recently realized something pretty exciting. This year’s derby […]

  2. […] of that, I once again dare you to not like the basil julep. I made an extra batch of the basil syrup this time around to have in my fridge at all times, but I […]

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