Summer Southern Charm: Bluegrass Iced Tea

Sunday, May 30, 2010 32 comments
Bluegrass Iced Tea: two Noodles make one drink!

This past week began on a sweet note with Black Raspberry Cheesecake Pots - my contribution to Hay Hay It's Donna Day, a great food blog event hosted this month by Mardi of Eat.Live.Travel.Write. Now, it comes to a refreshing close with yet another blog-to-blog collaboration - the Thirsty Thursday Challenge with the divine Diva on A Diet of Beach Eats.

As one of the first two participants in last month's inaugural event, I had the pleasure of choosing one of the designated ingredients for the next cocktail challenge. For inspiration, the husband and I looked to our garden to come up with an unusual yet workable element: cucumbers! Although they are in the same family as squash and gourds, and are commonly considered to be vegetables, cukes are actually closer to melons, my favorite summer fruits. So, as the Memorial Day weekend ushers in the summer season, we thought that a cucumber-y cocktail would be an excellent way of welcoming hot days and sultry nights.

However . . .

Although Mr. Noodle and I threw down this Thirsty Thursday Challenge to all comers, we must confess that our own thirsts demanded quenching with the other designated ingredient chosen by Suzy of Suzy's Goodies: bourbon.

While my husband prefers to drink spirits either neat or on the rocks, I like my hard liquor well-mixed in a cocktail. So, Diva's event was a perfect way for Mr. Noodle to concoct a refreshment that would maintain the smooth flavor of bourbon he so enjoys, with additional flavors that appeal to me. Once again, we found inspiration in the garden by infusing Kentucky bourbon (Jim Beam, in this case) with fresh rosemary and mint. The result is a deliciously cool cocktail, perfect for sipping as you sit on the porch on a hot, humid summer night - or just imagining you're sitting on a porch on a hot, humid summer night . . .

Bluegrass Iced Tea

This drink is akin to mint julep, the classic cocktail of The Kentucky Derby (that other May event), in its combination of bourbon, mint and sugar; however, our version is reminiscent of yet another favorite Southern sipper - sweet iced tea. As with most cocktails, the following measurements are really more like guidelines. Please feel free to adjust the amounts of ingredients to create the right flavor for yourself!

Serves two


1 cup fresh mint leaves,  loosely packed
1 - 2 sprigs fresh rosemary,
Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
4 tsps superfine (caster) sugar
Juice of one small lime
Tonic water
Ice cubes

To make:

Fill a lowball (a.k.a 'old-fashioned) or other 6-oz glass with mint and rosemary, then pour bourbon over the herbs until covered. Set aside and let steep for 3 to 6 hours. When done, strain out herbs and discard.

Divide infused bourbon equally between two lowball or 6-oz glasses. To each glass, add 2 tsps of sugar and 1/2 of lime juice, and stir to dissolve sugar. Add tonic water until mixture fills 2/3 of the glass, then add ice cubes to top. Serve with mint or rosemary sprigs.

Cheers, y'all!

Despite having bailed on our chosen ingredient, the husband and I are looking forward to seeing what fellow bloggers have done with the vegetable/fruit. If you're looking for some refreshing cocktail ideas to serve at your next summer soiree, please visit The Diva on a Diet at Beach Eats for an upcoming roundup of all entries to this month's Thirsty Thursday Challenge!


  • Chef E said...

    Hey this would be a great drink for the month of June here in Joisey- seems we are having blues festivals all over the place the next few weeks, good thing to have since the temps are shooting up faster than gas prices around here, lol

    And you always present it so beautifully!

  • Daily Spud said...

    I will be in the camp that will have to imagine that I am sitting on a porch on a hot, humid summer night when I am drinking this, given that such things are few and far between in Ireland! Meanwhile, you should come over and see what I made of your cucumber challenge :)

  • Lori said...

    I just love what you have done with bourbon here. That delicious spirit is one of my favorite things about living in Kentucky -- the history, culture and I certainly don't mind drinking it. I'm equally a rocks/neat and cocktail girl so this would fit nicely into a summer evening for me.

  • The Diva on a Diet said...

    Bravo, Team Noodle! This cocktail is such an elegant and perfectly seasonal use for the bourbon ... which I usually consider a cool-weather spirit. I just know I'm going to love this - the infused mint/rosemary is genius!

    Again, my undying thanks for being such good sports and supporting my budding challenge event! I couldn't do it without Team Noodle. Love you guys!!

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Hello everyone! Hope you've all had a chance to kick back and start sipping. 8-)

    Mr. Noodle and I are currently on the road so I haven't been able to log on and reply as comprehensively as I'd like. But I really appreciate all of your comments!

    This is really a delicious drink and as Penny noted, quite dangerous: the herb-y flavors from the mint and rosemary mask any 'alcohol' flavor so you might find yourself happily sipping away until you fall asleep! 8-D

    Don't forget to stop by at for a roundup of Thirsty Thursday Challenge entries. I hope you all had a wonderful long weekend and a fantastic start to the summer season!

  • Forager said...

    Yum! Sounds refreshing & a world away from the rainy winter misery we're in right now down under. Mulled wine seems more appropriate!

  • Suzy said...

    Oh, this looks soooooo good! I love how you infuse the bourbon with the mint and rosemary and then discard it. That's the only thing I dislike about mint juleps and mojitos...the pieces of herb in the drink! This solves that problem perfectly.

    Can't wait to see what Mr. & Mrs. Noodle come up with next month!

  • zerrin said...

    It's been very long, hope you're having great time. This cocktail looks so refreshing and perfect for summer nights. Fresh mint is somthing I use often for such drinks, but never used rosemary. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Ziggy said...

    goodness. everytime i drop by your website i look at my camera and think why am i letting it loiter around the house like a drunk divorced cougar. you take really good pictures grrr! i like! i like!


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