In the 2nd of CHILLED’s 3 part series, one of New York City’s most inventive mixologists and a proud member of the CHILLED 100, gets creative with an original spirit that’s just right for turning a classic cocktail on its head – NOLET’S Silver Gin.
Horseracing is not an exclusive pastime of the South nor does it end with the Kentucky Derby. Likewise, a Julep wasn’t always synonymous with bourbon or the region below the Mason Dixon line. Juleps were enjoyed with a variety of base spirits, including gin, and were known for featuring fresh fruit and lots of ice, both perfect for cooling off during a hot day at the track, where one was expected to dress sharp and pick a winner.
Today you can take the A train from midtown Manhattan all the way out to the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, and Metro North trains leave from Grand Central Station several times a day for Saratoga Race Course upstate (the third oldest track still operating in the country). And while New Amsterdam became New York in 1664, the Dutch influence is still seen throughout the city. What better way to celebrate than with Royal Nolet Distillery’s NOLET’s Silver Gin used deftly in my Fifth Horse in the Sixth Race Julep?
The Fifth Horse in the Sixth Race Julep
By Bob Wagner
- 3 oz. NOLET’S Silver Gin (This is an All Day Sipper!)
- Fresh Peaches, Cubed (Which You Can Still Find in August)
- Fresh Raspberries (Also Readily Available in Summer)
- Fresh Mint, Spearmint or Yerba Buena (Red Stem)
- 2-3 tbsp. Castor Sugar (to Taste)
- 2-3 drops Rose Water (Depending on the Strength of the Brand)
Preparation: It’s a little time consuming, but the payout is worth it.
- Take a good Julep tin (at least 12 oz. but 14 oz. is better).
- Pick 12 or so large, beautiful mint leaves (no brown or black spots or stems) and place them in the tin.
- Add castor sugar to taste and with the back of a good bar spoon “press” the mint and sugar around the sides of the tin; not so hard as to bruise it but hard enough to get the oils expressed. If you’re doing it right, you’ll smell the outcome.
- Add the raspberries and cubed peaches, which should be warm (patio temperature more than room temperature) and muddle gently.
- Add enough crushed ice to fill the tin about a third. Add the NOLET’S Silver Gin. Give the slurry a vigorous stir with your bar spoon, trying not to hit the sides or the bottom; a slight frost should develop on the sides.
- Add more crushed ice until it’s about two thirds full. Repeat the vigorous stir; more frost should form. Add the rose water and enough ice to stand proud at the top of the tin.
- Garnish with raspberries, peach slices, sprigs of mint and a rose petal.
*Note: Be sure to use a Julep straw, a metal one with a spoon bottom to keep from sucking up bits of mint on the bottom of the tin.
Meet Bob Wagner
Chilled 100 Member, New York City
Bob has worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years in every position from busboy at a Japanese steakhouse to General Manager of an Irish pub to Food & Beverage Manager of a major restaurant group. Having spent over 10 years of his professional life behind the stick, he’s proud to call bartending his first and greatest passion.
He holds certifications from the Cicerone Certification Program, The Guild of Sommeliers and Bar Smarts. In 2015 he was a regional finalist in Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition, as well as Tullamore Dew’s storytelling competition and Beefeater’s MXLDN. Prior, he was an MIB finalist in Bombay Sapphire’s 2012 competition and won the Fratelli Branca mixology competition that same year.
He has guest bartended in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Chicago and volunteered at every Speed Rack competition nationwide for the 2014/15 season.
Bob currently works in New York at Seamstress and Holiday Cocktail Lounge.