Menu Monday: Battle of The Juleps

So guys, I really love bourbon. I know, I know, it’s not the most ladylike of booze, but what the heart wants….and with Disneyland very close on the horizon for us, my brain is on Mint Juleps.

 

One of my favorite drinks is the classic mint julep. I had one given to me on accident at a whiskey bar in Portland, Oregon (a really terrible bar, actually), and I was in love.

My favorite place on the earth is Disneyland. One of Disneyland’s classic beverages is the Disneyland Mint Julep, which is a non-alcoholic drink that I remember enjoying.

Disneyland’s Mint Julep Bar in New Orleans Square. Photo From http://www.themouseforless.com

 

So, outside of the limelight of Disneyland, is the Mint Julep all that tasty? And how does it compare to a real, kentucky-style mint julep?

 

DISNEYLAND’S MINT JULEP

Recipe from Disney Food Blog

 

Makes approximately 2/3 gallon
INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp lime juice concentrate
  • 3 cups club soda
  • 6 Tbsp creme de menthe syrup (not liqueur)
  • 6 oz thawed lemonade concentrate
  • mint leaves
  • pineapple slices
  • maraschino cherries
  • bamboo skewers

METHOD
Dissolve sugar into club soda. Add lime juice and lemonade and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add creme de menthe. Chill.

To serve, combine 3 parts syrup to 5 parts water. Add mint, and skewer two pineapple slices and a cherry. Serve chilled (add ice cubes if necessary).

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And this is what it looks like:

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Review: Not that delicious outside of Disneyland. I hate to say it, but this is one of those things that Disney magic makes palatable, because it was so sweet and sticky that it was too much for me to handle. This recipe does taste exactly like the Disney julep, but it’s not a make-at-home and drink regularly thing.

 

MINT JULEP FOR GROWNUPS

A much simpler, classic mint julep is a sweet but not-too-sweet drink.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part bourbon
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • 5-7 mint leaves

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Directions:

  • Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake until your hands hurt
  • Pour into a chilled julep glass
  • Drink

2013-03-23 20.42.45Review: Always delicious, in moderation. Not gonna lie, I could drink Juleps every damn day. However, I know that would be alcoholism. Also, it’s a strong drink and very sugary, but you can taste the bourbon just right and the simple syrup and mint take the edge off. Yum

 

Verdict: Real Mint Juleps Outside of Disneyland. Always.

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Travel Tips: Packing For Disney

As some of you know, we are heading off to Disneyland on Tuesday, and we are so excited! I am starting to pack my bag and get all the laundry done, and I thought I should share some of my Disney packing tips and things to bring!

a sneak peak of my Disney Style Choices

  1. Pack clothes that are fun, casual, and good for the weather. Gals, Disneyland is not the time for your waxed denim and bandeau tops. Wear clothes that are fun (do you see those polka dots?) but that will keep you happy when your 5th mile and 7th hour waiting in lines and running around has hit you. Also, pack for the weather. In spring the days will be warm, but the night will be chilly. I’m bringing a pair of jeans and tights.
  2. Bring practical, reliable, footwear. This one is hard sometimes, but wear shoes that are comfy for miles and miles. This is not old-navy flip flop territory folks! I wear my chacos to the park usually, and while I will be making a daring footwear choice on one of our fancy nights, I will mostly be in chacos or simple shoes.
  3. Pack snacks. The grocery stores around Disney can be expensive, and snacks in the park are ridiculous. We will be packing a ton of granola bars, fruit-snacks, and Mio/Crystal light, as California water tastes pretty gross.
  4. Bring A Jacket. Not your heaviest ski-jacket, but a light rain jacket is essential in Orange County in the Spring or Fall.
  5. Help Yourself Be Comfortable. Bring along band aids, ibuprofen, neosporin, moleskin, and body-glide. This should help with blisters or chafing that can ruin your whole trip.
  6. Pack Extra. Undies, socks, and an extra shirt and bottom. You never know when you will get soaked on a ride and need to change. If you aren’t wearing sandals, bring a change of shoes too! My chacos dry out pretty quick, but tennis shoes don’t!
  7. Bring a Day Pack. I always bring a small backpack or large purse to Disneyland where I carry my water bottle, snacks, and first aid kit. I’d also recommend packing sunscreen, sunglasses, and other “necessities” here.

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8. Bring a Camera. Or at least a camera phone to capture memories. We are trying out Photopass + this trip, which will allow us to get some really high quality photos, so be expecting a review of that. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you have a way to capture the magic, because your family is building memories for years to come.

 

For More about Disney Check Out:

Disney On A Real Budget: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Travel Tips: 5 Great Family Vacations

One thing I am really grateful for is that my parents made family vacations a huge priority, for us to bond and spend time together. They were never anything crazy or lavish, the priority was on family time. We did do some fun things, but always on a budget. Now as an educator and working with families I can see the importance of family time. Without further ado…

 

1. Disneyland.

Okay, Okay. I know my pro-Disneyland bias is no secret on this blog (see my series on Disneyland on a REAL Budget),but Disneyland is a real miracle. Whether your family has young kiddos or teens, Disneyland has a bit for everyone. The customer service makes trips a lot easier, and I prefer Disneyland because it is a smaller park than Disneyworld, which means you can take a week vacation and still spend a couple days at the beach. We are Disneyland addicts in this family, and are setting off in less than a month for a trip to the happiest place on earth!

Our Family, Christmas 2012 on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Our Family, Christmas 2012 on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

2. Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is another one of my favorite places. Our family went on several trips there when I was a kid, and I worked there summer 2009. I love Yellowstone for families because there is SO much to see and do that interests people of all ages. The geothermic features, the wildlife, the swimming holes…everything. Plus, you get to do all the regular fun “camping” stuff.  There are plenty of “active” things to do like hiking and swimming, but there are also a ton of accessible areas (boardwalks, driving areas, etc) for grandma and grandpa and kiddos in strollers. (Check out my post on Yellowstone Travel tips)

My family (with the grandparents!) at the end of my Yellowstone Summer.

My family (with the grandparents!) at the end of my Yellowstone Summer.

3. Washington DC

My favorite East Coast city is Washington DC. It has a lot of great cultural and historical activities that are FREE for families (the Smithsonian and all the monuments are owned by the people!). DC public transit is also cheap, efficient, and easy to use. Especially the metro, which gets you within steps of everything. I would recommend DC for families with 4th & 5th graders because they are learning about the history of our nation in those grades so they will be more excited about the sites. Plan ahead and contact the White House, Washington Monument, and your Representative to get tickets to special tours and access to special events. The White House tour, for example, requires some security clearance to attend. Make sure you also read what is allowed in each of the areas. I don’t remember which visiting area it was but I was late for a tour because I had opened my waterbottle and had to dump it out.

My brother and I at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in DC. 2007.

My brother and I at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in DC. 2007.

4. Family Camp

Family camp is one of my favorite invention. What could be better than enjoying summer camp with your kiddos?!? Some camps around the country are offering 4 day Summer Camps for Families where your family can go and enjoy camp together. I recommend YMCA Camp Silver Creek in Silverton, Oregon. I worked there in 2011 and it was an amazing summer. They offer arts and crafts, boating, campfire, field games, hikes, and everything else. Your family gets a cabin to themselves and meals are prepared in the dining hall. This might be a great option for younger kids who are going to camp by themselves later in the summer to have a family connection to. I could go on for day about how invaluable camp is for kids, but that’s unnecessary. Check out YMCA Camp Silver Creek, Celebrating their 75th Anniversary this year: http://youry.org/camp/ymca-camp-silver-creek/family-camps/

Barges Ceremony at YMCA Camp Silver Creek

Barges Ceremony at YMCA Camp Silver Creek

5. Explore Your City

A lot of families think that a vacation means going and spending a lot of money and having no privacy and being stressed. A lot of people don’t really know all the great opportunities right outside their backdoor, or at least in their counties. There are a lot of great restaurants, parks, museums, and theaters. You can save money by staying at home, packing lunches, and getting locals discounts which many museums and attractions offer. Take a half day to go to that children’s museum or art gallery that you haven’t been to in years. Show your children what the world has to offer to them. You can also include grandparents, cousins, and even friends a lot easier this way.

 

Hope these ideas get you inspired to spend some time with your loved ones!