Mint Juleps, Five Ways For Derby Day

on 02/05/12 at 9:06 pm

Booze News

Ah, the mint julep. One of the oldest, most revered and hotly debated fixtures of the drinking world. The name originates from the Arab word “julab,” which was likely a medicinal rose water concoction. The modern-day mint julep, however, came about in the early 1800s. Frederick Marryat captured the mint julep best in 1839’s A Diary in America:

“I once overheard two ladies talking in the room next to me, and one of them said, ‘Well, if I have a weakness for any one thing, it is for a mint julep’ – a very amiable weakness, and proving her good sense and good taste. They are, in fact, like American ladies, irresistible.”

So, what is a mint julep? Simply: a drink of cognac, whiskey, or rum; sweetened with sugar, iced and flavored with fresh spearmint. A highly ritualistic tipple, I’ll leave you to judge which is best.

For each, follow these basic julep preparation guidelines:

In a pre-chilled glass or julep cup, add the syrup and mint leaves. Muddle lightly, just to release the oils. Discard the bruised mint, half pack the glass with crushed ice, pour on the base spirit, stir to chill and top with more crushed ice. Garnish with a bunch of fresh spearmint, stems cut up to the leaves.


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