Swamp and Mint Juleps

On Saturday night, the gang (Mom, Lofton, and me) got back together for an adventure.  Our neighbor had invited us to a cookout at a hunt club on the other side of Columbia, and boy was it out there.

We got off the interstate and drove a few miles until we hit a dirt road…

Dirt road

It seemed like a dirty trick at first.  I was tempted to open the window and listen for banjos.

Dirt road

Finally we reached the house, and I saw a breathtaking sight:

Congaree Swamp

I’ve never seen the Congaree Swamp before!

Congaree Swamp

Sure, there were lots of people…


…and good food (which, sadly, went unpictured), but it was the swamp I was taken with.

Congaree Swamp

I can’t believe that’s near Columbia!

Inside the house, they had lots of manly things and taxidermied critters, but this one is worth mentioning:

Star Wars Beastie

No, that’s not an alien beastie from Star Wars, it’s the aft-end of a deer, flipped upside down, outfitted with eyes and a mouth.

Rednecks. [shakes head]

Sunday was spent working out in the yard, which totally sucked – the heat and humidity were almost unbearable.  During one of our breaks, we noticed little tiny baby turtles in the pond in our back yard, and Mom the Mighty Turtle Hunter caught one with a pool skimmer!

Baby Turtle

Isn’t he cute??  I named him Jerry before I put him back.

Baby Turtle

After all the back yard shenanigans, I made us a mint julep in honor of the Kentucky Derby.

Mint and Maker's Mark

I muddled some mint from my herb garden with simple syrup (in a diet shake shaker bottle; don’t judge),

Muddled Mint

busted out the julep cups (which keep your beverage super frosty),

Julep Cup

Put in some cracked ice and Maker’s Mark,

Cracked ice


then strained the mint syrup into each cup before shaking and adding a mint sprig.

Mint julep

Then I tasted it, realized I couldn’t handle the bourbon, and added more syrup.  That was probably a mistake – it was almost too sweet.  I think once I got past the first couple of sips, I would’ve been fine without adding more syrup.  Despite the headache (from either working in the humidity or the sickly sweet Mint Julep, or both), it was a nice ending to an interesting weekend!

Got any favorite time-consuming cocktails? Mojitos are another fave of mine featuring muddled mint!