In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the Redpath Simply Raw™ with water. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Add in the mint leaves. Decrease heat to low and gently simmer; 1 minute.
Remove from heat, cover, and infuse at room temperature; 30 minutes. Place cooled simple syrup into the fridge to chill thoroughly; 1 hour.
Chill 4 julep or old-fashioned glasses in the freezer until frosty; at least 30 minutes.
Strain the chilled simple syrup with a fine mesh sieve (see Chef’s Tips) into an airtight container.
Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the mint simple syrup to each chilled glass. For a sweeter drink, add 2 tablespoons (30 ml).
If using, place 3 mint leaves in the bottom of each glass. Using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon, gently tap the mint to bruise the leaves; do not pound or tear the leaves, as they will blacken and discolour.
Fill each glass halfway with crushed ice. Add ¼ cup (63 ml) of unsweetened pear juice and 1 tablespoon, and 1 teaspoon (20 ml) of lime juice to each glass. Stir with a cocktail stirrer (or long-handled spoon) to thoroughly combine the liquids and to keep the glass cold. Top the glasses with more crushed ice.
Garnish with fresh mint and a cocktail stirrer. Stir before enjoying.
*Make the mint simple syrup up to 2 weeks before needed for ease and fast preparation.
*Strained mint leaves can be placed onto a wire cooling rack on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place baking sheet into the oven with or without the light on and air-dry overnight for candied mint leaves. Use leaves to garnish drinks or desserts.
*For a different taste, use unsweetened apple juice or white grape juice, or, if available, non-alcoholic bourbon to replace the pear juice. Alternatively, use ginger ale for a fizzy, slightly sweeter drink.
*For the alcoholic version, replace the unsweetened pear juice with your favourite bourbon. Omit the fresh lime juice if desired.
*Redpath® Golden Yellow Sugar can be substituted 1:1 for the Redpath Simply Raw™. Note that the resulting drink will have a more pronounced caramel undertone and a darker colour.
*Crush ice using a food processor or blender. Alternatively, place ice cubes into a freezer-safe, resealable bag and place the bag between kitchen towels. Using a rubber mallet or rolling pin, pound ice until crushed.