88. Mint Julep

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In case you hadn’t noticed (since the first recipe was #125), I am indeed skipping around a bit. This is partially due to the availability of ingredients, and partially because I don’t necessarily want to be making punch after punch after punch, and then julep after julep after julep. What is an effective categorization method in a book is not the most fun in the kitchen.

So for this one I wanted something I had heard of before. Was this first version a classic Mint Julep? Short answer: no. It’s pretty different, except for shaved ice and mint, but is a really nice drink on its own. Score another one for Jerry Thomas.

In other news, the U.S. Mint recently announced the national parks that will be on this year’s America the Beautiful (read: fancy) quarters: Shawnee National Forest in Illinois, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park in West Virginia, Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and Fort Moultrie (Fort Sumter National Monument) in South Carolina. The first will be on shelves (in wallets? What do you say?) on February 8th. Riveting news, I know.

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88. Mint Julep

(Use large bar glass.)

  • 1 table-spoonful of white pulverized sugar. [Powdered sugar.]
  • 2½ do. water, mix well with a spoon. [do. is “Ditto” in ye olden days.]
  • Take three or four sprigs of fresh mint, and press them well in the sugar and water, until the flavor of the mint is extracted; add one and a half wine-glass [3 oz.] of Cognac brandy, and fill the glass with fine shaved ice, then draw out the sprigs of mint and insert them in the ice with the stems downward, so that the leaves will be above, in the shape of a bouquet; arrange berries, and small pieces of sliced orange on top in a tasty manner, dash with Jamaica rum, [I took this to mean dark rum] and sprinkle white sugar on top. Place a straw as represented in the cut, [I didn’t have a straw, but we’re getting some! By “in the cut” he means the image on that first Jerry Thomas post, which appears to just be in the drink. Not sure where else you’d put it.] and you have a julep that is fit for an emperor.

Fit for an emperor, eh? Pretty cool. Apart from the spirit choice (brandy instead of whisky), this started out like a pretty classic julep, but then he just goes crazy and adds all sorts of things to it. Only modifications I made (besides no straw) were to use new mint sprigs for the garnish because the muddled ones were kind of gross-looking.

Mint Julep Prep

Tasting Notes:

BN: I found it interesting that he didn’t use whisky, as that is a pretty common spirit back then — but I guess that wasn’t how he heard about the drink. I’ll look into when that switch occurred. The addition of the fruit and rum was really delicious though, especially the citrus — it gave it a lot more depth than I’m used to in a simply sweet and minty julep. I wanted a little more mint flavor but I should have just muddled more. I also liked the ombre (PiC is proud of my vocabulary) effect that was made when the rum was added to the top – dark rum to orange brandy to green sugar-mint water.

PiC: A little alcoholic for me, but i like it. Even making it a little sweeter would be good. I especially like eating a raspberry off the top and then taking a sip.

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One thought on “88. Mint Julep

  1. Julie Perron

    Fine work with the drink, but I particularly liked learning about the new “fancy” quarters. I will keep an eye out for them.

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