Mint

Mint, in the author’s backyard, is a key ingredient in mint juleps.

Tonight, Friday, July 31, is the final concert of the 22nd season of the River Concert Series at St. Mary’s College, presented by the Chesapeake Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Jeffrey Silberschlag. “It’s a St. Mary’s Thing — Our Brand I” will feature St. Mary’s College musical alumni including Paul Reed Smith, Don Stapleson, Sara Jones, Rick Humphries, Chuck Orifici, Ross Wixon, Mark Runkles, Peter Field, Rie Moore, Gino Hannah, Ari Pluzik and Zachary Silberschlag. The concert is available online at smcm.edu and at chesapeakeorchestra.org starting at 7 pm.

At this time, there is some action for bottom fish as well as small bluefish along the western shore and Point Lookout areas into the lower Potomac River, according to Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Keep metal lures handy for Spanish mackerel which may show up on the surface. Striped bass may be part of the mix. Be aware, though, that the main stem of the Potomac River is closed to all striped bass fishing From July 7 to Aug. 20 by order of the Potomac River Fisheries Commission. For detailed conditions in your area of the bay, you may contact MDDNR@public.govdelivery.com.

Summer sunset-watching recipe of the week

Dad’s Old-Fashioned Mint Juleps

I need to preface Dad’s special recipe with my own mint julep recipe. Decades ago I taught myself how to make the perfect mint julep as an excuse to use some of the thick growth of mint that surrounds our screened-in porch — the ideal spot for sunset watching. I reserve this recipe for special occasions (during the running of the Preakness or the Kentucky Derby, for instance).

Ingredients

4 cups fresh mint sprigs (reserve a few for garnish), tough stems trimmed off

4 cups simple syrup (2 cups water plus 2 cups sugar)

4 cups bourbon

Crushed ice

Chilled pewter cups with stemless wine glasses nestled inside if you can find the right combination of glassware; otherwise, any small wineglass will do.

Directions

Bring to a boil the water and sugar; turn heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Cover, and add mint sprigs. Continue simmering on low for 30 minutes. Allow to cool; refrigerate covered mixture in the pot for a few hours or overnight; strain liquid into a carafe. Chill carafe until ready to serve. Glasses may be chilled first, then filled with crushed ice. To assemble each drink, measure then mix equal parts mint syrup and Bourbon and pour over crushed ice. Add a mint sprig for garnish.

When I excitedly offered a sample of this recipe to dad while describing how I’d prepared it, he listened patiently and then said that all he’d ever had to do to make a mint julep was to simply immerse a sprig of mint in a glass of whatever he was drinking at the moment — Coke, Sprite, iced tea, water, gin, rum, white wine, red wine, etc. — and voila! Instant mint julep.

Dad also gave me some great advice about marriage, saying that the first 50 years were the hardest. My parents, Walt and Virginia Brice, would have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on July 29. Jim and I celebrate our 26th today. Only 24 more years to go until we have it all figured out, dad — let’s toast to that with a mint julep.

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