Mint julep is one of the oldest and most famous cocktails. It is not clear when it was precisely mixed for the first time, but it is reliably known that in the very early years of the 19th century, American gentlemen were already drinking it in the mornings at breakfast.
How do you like this approach? Take note of the upcoming New Year holidays.
This is an American cocktail, his homeland – the southern states. To imagine the atmosphere with which the mint julep is historically associated, remember the film “Gone With the Wind”, which is played by Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. Rich south, cotton plantations, manors, heat. It was these gentlemen – owners of cotton fields – that the ice julep cooled and refreshed.
Vintage american postcard
The popularity of the julep increased significantly when it became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby horse racing, where it was served in the very same metal cups, which are now considered canonical for the julep.
From the enthusiastic, romantic, love descriptions of julep you can make up a whole library. Look here: Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, O. Henry, Scott Fitzgerald, Hunter Thompson – this is a short list of the most famous authors who can read passages about the intricacies of julep making and great freshness of taste. But the most insightful description of the julep was created by the columnist of the American newspaper Lexington Herald Joshua Saul Smith in 1890.
After reading it, it is impossible not to want to drink a julep immediately. Since our intention is this, we present, with some abbreviations, the translation of this text:
“The man who did not try the mint julep lived in vain. <…> Bourbon and mint – this is a love couple. Corn grows in the fields. On them streams flow on the banks of which mint grows. She lowers her innocent leaves into the same waters that give life to the corn, and then bourbon. Streams of water flow so as to kiss the feet of mint growing on their banks, leaning in the mint to greet them. <…> When the time comes, fresh, virgin, innocent mint should be the wife of the old bourbon, love his big heart and warm temper.
Take an angelically clean, cold spring water, mix with sugar <…> Put mint into a glass and mash it with a spoon, leaving no millimeters of leaves to crush. Then throw away the mint – it will be a ritual sacrifice here. Fill a glass with crushed ice and add bourbon. It will slowly penetrate the ice, cooling to the desired temperature. You can not speed up the process. Let the bourbon flow at its natural rate, then add sweetened water to it. Mix gently. Spill in glasses, garnish with mint. ”
This soul-taking text explains the main taste idea of julep – to combine a warm taste (bourbon) with a cooling one (mint).
However, it is worth noting that the question of whether it is necessary to knead mint is debatable, this is a stumbling block that divides the bartenders of the world and julep fans into two irreconcilable camps.
Joshua Saul Smith, who wrote the above text, belonged to that camp, which believes that a cocktail needs a mint flavor. Another camp stands for the fact that in a julep there should be only a mint flavor and no taste. This means that mint can not be kneaded, but you only need to richly decorate the top of the cocktail with it, so that while taking a sip you inevitably stick your nose into a bunch of mint and inhale its smell.
Try both julep variants to join one or another camp.
I must say that in the recipes of mint julep, a cocktail consisting of bourbon, sugar, mint and water, now you can find a variety of ingredients. You will be offered to use store sugar syrup instead of sugar and water, and maybe even sugar syrup with mint flavor – and then you can not use not only sugar, but also mint. But we are sure that you will not fall for this populism and simplification.
Cooking julep according to the traditional recipe.
80 ml bourbon
10-12 sprigs of mint
2 tsp. Sahara
3 tsp. water
crushed ice (enough to fill a glass completely for a julep)
In a glass for julep pour sugar and dissolve it completely in 3 teaspoons of water. To speed up the process of dissolution, you can use warm water, but then be sure to wait until it cools.
After that, if you decide to knead the mint, then separate the leaves from the twigs and place them on the bottom of the glass, mash them with a spoon (with a silver spoon, as classic recipes insist). Then remove the leaves and discard or leave to lie on the bottom of the glass – both options are acceptable.
If you are going to smell the leaves, skip this step.
Fill a glass with ice for 2/3. Pour bourbon over it. Wait until it is completely drained, mix the cocktail. After that, add some more ice.