Mint julep

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Mint julep
Type Mixed drink
Primary alcohol by volume
Served over crushed or shaved ice
Standard garnish mint leaves
Standard drinkware tall glass, or julep cup
Commonly used ingredients
  • 3 US fluid ounces (89 ml; 3.1 imp fl oz) Bourbon whiskey
  • 4 to 6 sprigs mint leaves
  • granulated sugar, to taste
Preparation Put mint, sugar, and a small amount of crushed or shaved ice into the bottom of a julep cup or tall glass. (Optional: Muddle the mint and sugar, then let stand for a bit to allow the broken leaves to release their flavor.) Add bourbon whiskey, top off with crushed or shaved ice, and stir well to mix and chill the mixture.

The mint julep is a mixed alcoholic drink, or cocktail, associated with the cuisine of the Southern United States.


[edit] Preparation

A mint julep is traditionally made of four ingredients: mint, bourbon, sugar and water. In the use of sugar and mint, it is similar to the mojito. In preparing a mint julep, a fresh mint sprig is used primarily as a garnish, to introduce the flavor and aroma through the nose. If mint leaves are used in the preparation, they should just be very lightly bruised, if at all. However, proper preparation of the cocktail is commonly debated, as methods may vary considerably from one bartender to another. By another method, the mint julep may be considered as one of a loosely associated family of drinks called "smashes" (the brandy smash is another example, as well as the mojito), in which fresh mint and other ingredients are muddled or crushed in preparation for flavoring the finished drink. The step further releases essential oils and/or juices into the mixture, intensifying the flavor from the added ingredient or ingredients.

Traditionally, mint juleps were often served in silver or pewter cups, and held only by the bottom and top edges of the cup. This allows frost to form on the outside of the cup. Traditional hand placement may have arisen as a way to reduce the heat transferred from the hand to the silver or pewter cup. Today, mint juleps are most commonly served in a tall old-fashioned glass, Collins glass, or highball glass with a straw.

[edit] History

The origins of the mint julep are clouded and may never be definitively known. The first appearance of a mint julep in print came in a book by John Davis published in London in 1803, where it was described as "a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning."[1] However, Davis did not specify that bourbon was the spirit used. The mint julep originated in the southern United States, probably during the eighteenth century. U.S. Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky introduced the drink to Washington, D.C., at the Round Robin Bar in the famous Willard Hotel during his residence in the city.[2] The term 'julep' is generally defined as a sweet drink, particularly one used as a vehicle for medicine. The word itself is derived from Arabic: ماء وردMāʾ ward and Persian: گلاب Golâb, meaning rose water.

[edit] The Kentucky Derby

The mint julep is well-known as the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby, a position it has held since 1938. Each year almost 120,000 juleps are served at Churchill Downs over the two day period of the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby.[3] For over 18 years, the Early Times Mint Julep Cocktail has been the designated "official mint julep of the Kentucky Derby".

At the 2006 Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs served custom-made mint juleps at a cost of $1000 each. The mint juleps were served in gold-plated cups with silver straws, and were made from Woodford Reserve bourbon, mint imported from Ireland, ice from the Bavarian Alps, and sugar from Australia. The proceeds were used to support charitable causes dedicated to retired race horses.

In May 2008, Churchill Downs unveiled the world's largest mint julep glass. Churchill Downs, in conjunction with Early Times, commissioned the Weber Group[4] to fabricate the 6-foot (1.8 m) tall glass (7.5-foot (2.3 m) if the mint sprig is included). The glass was constructed from FDA food-grade acrylic, heated and molded into the shape of an official 2008 Derby glass. It had a capacity of 206 US gallons (780 l; 172 imp gal), and distributed the mint juleps at the Derby with an elaborate pumping system concealed within the "stir straw".

[edit] Variations

The Kremlin Colonel is made with vodka instead of bourbon; the fresh mint flavoring differentiates the drink from the similar vodka stinger that uses crème de menthe.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Davis, John (1803). Travels of Four Years and a Half in the United States of America. pp. 379.,M1. 
  2. ^ See Nickell, p. 31, for Clay's recipe, taken from his diary.
  3. ^ "Derby Experience-Mint Julep". Churchill Downs Inc.. Retrieved on 28 December 2008. 
  4. ^

[edit] Sources

  • Domine, David. Adventures in New Kentucky Cooking with the Bluegrass Peasant (Kuttawa, KY: McClanahan Publishing House), 2007 ISBN 091338397X
  • The Mint Julep: The Very Dream of Drinks, from the Old Receipt of Soule Smith, down in Lexington, Kentucky (Lexington, KY: The Gravesend Press), 1949. [reprinted in 1964]
  • Nickell, Joe. The Kentucky Mint Julep (Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky), 2003. ISBN 0-8131-2275-9

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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