Mint Julep Ice Cream

This is not just for Derby Day. It is perfect all summer. Serve with your favorite pecan cookies.

Makes 8 servings
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1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup good Kentucky Bourbon
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
8 large sprigs fresh mint, plus several small sprigs for garnish

Combine the sugar, water, and the 8 mint sprigs in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, then add the bourbon.

Combine the milk and cream in a large nonreactive saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. In a slow, steady stream, add the egg mixture to the hot cream mixture. Continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

Whisk the bourbon mixture into the cream mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap down against the surface of the mixture to keep a skin from forming, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, longer if possible.

Remove from the refrigerator and pour the mixture into an ice cream machine. Churn according to the manufacturer's directions.

To serve, put a large scoop of the ice cream in the center of each serving dish and garnish with the remaining mint sprigs.