Makes 10 drinks. Recipe is from Don Verdicanno, of Denham Springs, who learned how to make this spirited concoction more than 30 years ago from the owners of Montaigne Plantation in Natchez, Miss.
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 bunches fresh mint, plus additional for garnish
4 cups bourbon
1. Make a mint syrup by dissolving sugar in water in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 bunches mint leaves and tender tops. Simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Strain into a jar and refrigerate until cold.
2. For each drink, pack a julep cup or old-fashioned glass with crushed ice. Pour 1 tablespoon mint syrup over ice. Add 2 ounces (1/4 cup) bourbon. Beat with a teaspoon until ice forms on the outside of the cup. Stir in 1 more tablespoon mint syrup. Garnish with a sprig of mint and enjoy.