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View Full Version : Mm, Mint Juleps.



Uncle Oswald
04-30-2009, 10:50
Given that the Derby is this Saturday, I've been hitting the juleps pretty hard this week at various bars. Not that I'm big into horse racing, it's just provided me with an excuse to drink something I generally reserve as a seasonal enjoyment.

I'm curious...

What Bourbon do you use in your Mint Juleps?

I was pretty ardent in my stance, and used Woodford Reserve exclusively in mine. I found the spiciness of Woodford to stand up to the sugar and mint rather well. That was until a few nights ago when a bartender convinced me to try it with Basil Hayden's. It was not bad, not bad at all. Given the weaker ABV, the Hayden's absorbs all the flavor and forms a marriage with the sugar and mint. Very smooth, easy drinking, and has more of a tea-like quality. Woodford is still my favorite base, but I'm pretty alright with Hayden's if I were going for a more casual cocktail or were to recommend it to someone that's not much of a Bourbon drinker.

cowdery
04-30-2009, 10:58
The mint julep is a good place for a bourbon that is at least 100 proof. Were I making one on Saturday, I'd probably reach for Wild Turkey 101, Very Old Barton BIB, Old Grand-Dad BIB or J.T.S. Brown BIB.

More julep musings from me are here (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2009/04/hey-mint-julep-your-one-day-year-is.html).

Uncle Oswald
04-30-2009, 11:17
The mint julep is a good place for a bourbon that is at least 100 proof. Were I making one on Saturday, I'd probably reach for Wild Turkey 101, Very Old Barton BIB, Old Grand-Dad BIB or J.T.S. Brown BIB.

More julep musings from me are here (http://chuckcowdery.blogspot.com/2009/04/hey-mint-julep-your-one-day-year-is.html).

You think of yours as more of a shot? Interesting.

Do you prefer crushed or cubed ice? Crushed is clearly more traditional, but I take mine cubed. I always find the crushed ice to dilute my drink too quickly, and I feel kind of weird drinking a Bourbon slushy. In that sense, I'm not at all a purist. I also opt for simple syrup.

ratcheer
04-30-2009, 14:59
Ok, Chuck, I am really wanting to try your recipe and drink it, quickly. The thing is, I don't know where to get fresh mint. And, I don't grow herbs.

Tim

camduncan
04-30-2009, 16:18
Ah, Mint Juleps. My all time favourite bourbon cocktail (or should I now say 'Shot'?)

Chuck, for me, you've hit the nail on the head with regards to how Mint Juleps should be consumed! I've always struggled with the concept of drinking them slowly, because to me, they taste so good I want to do more than just sip them. Plus once they get all watery, they taste like crap.

I've not experimented to much with making them,having tried Makers Mark, Woodford Reserve and Nelson County (a Heaven Hill bourbon). To date my favourite has been the Bill Samuels recipe for making an entire 750ml bottle of Julep to keep in the freezer. I'm not sure if it tastes better, but it sure as hell is convenient :grin:

silverfish
05-02-2009, 15:22
I just got a bottle of the Maker's Mark Mint Julep
(66 proof) and it's very tasty. There is a "Perfect
MJ Cocktail" recipe on the side label but it's fine
on the rocks if you don't wanna go to the trouble
of adding a mint sprig and shaved ice. Even my
wife (who wants oh so badly to enjoy bourbon)
found it pleasant enough after adding a bit of
water.

barturtle
05-02-2009, 15:28
The bottled Mint Julep's are only really good as an ice cream topping...

Uncle Oswald
05-03-2009, 12:21
I just got a bottle of the Maker's Mark Mint Julep
(66 proof) and it's very tasty. There is a "Perfect
MJ Cocktail" recipe on the side label but it's fine
on the rocks if you don't wanna go to the trouble
of adding a mint sprig and shaved ice. Even my
wife (who wants oh so badly to enjoy bourbon)
found it pleasant enough after adding a bit of
water.

Hit her off with a Manhattan made on the sweeter side, a splash of maraschino cherry juice will do the trick. Prepared that way, it serves well as training wheels for budding bourbon imbibers.

silverfish
05-04-2009, 07:54
Hit her off with a Manhattan made on the sweeter side, a splash of maraschino cherry juice will do the trick. Prepared that way, it serves well as training wheels for budding bourbon imbibers.

Thanks for the suggestion. We just happen
to have some cherry juice in the pantry so I'll
see what she thinks.

independant
05-04-2009, 21:58
I planned to have my first mint jelup on saturday in honor of the derby so Friday night I went to the store for powdered sugar and saturday to the local market for fresh mint. I was also lucky enough to find a really nice silver plated cup at a local pawn shop to have it in. So I followed the directions as stated on here and mashed the mint and sugar in the bottom with a little woodford reserve added crushed ice and topped off with woodford. I must say I don't really care for mint jelups. I tried again with less sugar and a few more mint leaves but no dice. Maybe next year at derby time I will try again.

I was on the other hand happy to find the silver cup. it was listed for 13.50 and it was engraved with my citys 200 year anniversary. I asked if the price was right and asked if it was really pewter. He showed me the hallmark. Saying it was so cheap because it had been there four years. :)

barturtle
05-04-2009, 22:12
Okay here's a better way to make them:

Fill a julep cup with crushed ice

Fill with Bourbon

add a sprig of mint

add a straw cut to rise only about an inch above the rim of the cup

drink bourbon through the straw with your nose nearly buried in the mint.

independant
05-05-2009, 03:49
Okay here's a better way to make them:

Fill a julep cup with crushed ice

Fill with Bourbon

add a sprig of mint

add a straw cut to rise only about an inch above the rim of the cup

drink bourbon through the straw with your nose nearly buried in the mint.


I like your way so much better. :bowdown:

Even though I just had Woodford reserve on the rocks while stiffing mint it was better. :lol:

cowdery
05-13-2009, 11:38
I understand mint is pretty easy to grow and that it will take over your yard if you aren't careful.

I'm not that crazy about the mint julep and have no interest in the pre-mixes or in making them with mint syrup, but they can be enjoyable under the right circumstances.

And as I always say when the subject comes up, don't dawdle over your julep. It's best to drink it down as soon as you make it.

Josh
05-13-2009, 11:48
I understand mint is pretty easy to grow and that it will take over your yard if you aren't careful.

This is quite true, but it also does very well in pots if you don't have a corner to grow it in or you don't have a yard. It likes full sun but does fine in part sun or part shade.

There are varieties that are made especially for Juleps, but I would just buy the generic spearmint available at any garden center. Or better yet find somebody who has some in their yard, and ask if you can dig some up for yourself.

Joshua
06-04-2009, 19:38
I may have to bring this back from the semi-dead... I have a TON of mint in my herb garden. Enough that it's dang near a "weed."

Well I decided to let it grow in the back edge, and realized I had about 30 gorgeous mint plants going, and a bottle of WT101 nearing the end. I bruised up a 4 of the biggest leaves, tossed them in the bottom with 2 oz of WT101, .7 oz of simple syrup I made, and a big sprig of mint.

Damn good... the first gulp/sip was a bit surgery, but after that with a nose full of mint the next sips finished it off and felt like a really wonderful way to kill a drink on a warm summer night. I don't really see them as a drink every night, but more of a sophisticated shot of sorts. Now, of course I have to drink them more often to keep the population of mint in check.

I say, without a doubt, 100 proof and up for them though

Bourbon Geek
06-05-2009, 05:33
I understand mint is pretty easy to grow and that it will take over your yard if you aren't careful.

I'm not that crazy about the mint julep and have no interest in the pre-mixes or in making them with mint syrup, but they can be enjoyable under the right circumstances.

And as I always say when the subject comes up, don't dawdle over your julep. It's best to drink it down as soon as you make it.

I just have to disagree here ... I think a mint julep is all about the experience ... to be savored, for sure. I think the julep is all about cold, minty sweetness, and enjoying the day.

As such, I think you need to pre-make your juleps by the bottle ... well in advance. Maybe even have a separate mint julep making party...

Start with fresh mint with smaller leaves, if possible. Take the time to pick the leaves off the stems and discard the stems. (The stems will impart a tannin-bitter taste into what shold be a perfectly sweet drink). Once you have 2 or 3 generous handfuls of mint leaves, stuff them into a cheese cloth so it looks like a large mint burrito (of sorts) ... Pour 4 or 5 ounces of your favorite bourbon into an oversized mixing bowl ... then submerge your mint-stuffed cheese cloth gently in the bourbon. Let it soak for a few seconds, gently kneading it to get the air out ... pull it up and wring it gently ... do this several times, wringing a little more firmly each time. When the mint smell in the bourbon is very strong (usually takes about 5 or 6 dips) ... set this mint extract aside.

Next, prepare a simple syrup ... 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar ... be careful not to boil the water ... heat it just enough to completely dissolve the sugar ... then set this aside.

By making this a three part concoction, you can separately control the sweetness, the mintyness, and the amount of alcohol in your drink. Any other way, and you wind up not being able to precisely control the proportions.

Finally, is another mixing bowl, dump about a 750 ml bottle of your favorite bourbon ... add about 1/4 cup or so of the simple syrup ... then begin adding the mint extract until the nose is just perfect. When done, it should all just fit into a Liter bottle ... fill 'er up and throw it into the freezer for the big day.

Now, clean up and get ready to party.

For the presentation, pack your glass with crushed/shaved ice ... preferrably a traditional julep cup (because it's metal and does nice things with the cold) ... pour your julep mix over top ... and because you chilled it in advance, the ice will not melt away ... push one nice sized sprig of mint into the cup for a garnish ... dust the top with powdered sugar ... and push a small diameter bar straw down into the mix.... Finally, take a pair of scissors, and trim the top of the straw off about 3/4 of an inch above the ice ... that way, as you sip your julep, your nose will be just above the mint sprig and sugar ... adding to the olfactory experience.

Now, sip away ... don't gulp ... experiences like this were menat to be savored slowly ... take it all in ...

Josh
06-05-2009, 07:11
Great recipe dave! I'll give it a shot this weekend!

camduncan
06-05-2009, 14:08
That's how I make mine - by the bottle, before hand, and in the freezer ready for the day I want to drink them.
Actually Dave, your post almost reads like the script to the Makers Mark Mint Julep video I got my recipe from :skep: :grin:
I do agree with Chuck though..... drink them before the ice melts and they get all watery, and, because I make the bottle up before-hand, pour another :lol:

Bourbon Geek
06-05-2009, 15:39
That's how I make mine - by the bottle, before hand, and in the freezer ready for the day I want to drink them.
Actually Dave, your post almost reads like the script to the Makers Mark Mint Julep video I got my recipe from :skep: :grin:
I do agree with Chuck though..... drink them before the ice melts and they get all watery, and, because I make the bottle up before-hand, pour another :lol:

What an odd coincidence ...:lol:

cowdery
06-05-2009, 21:26
Pre-chilling does preserve the ice a little longer, but "don't dawddle" is probably good advice. Letting them get watery just ruins them.

camduncan
06-06-2009, 17:34
One advantage I find in making it by the bottle...... you can keep topping the glass up as it empties :lol:

The Julep is now my drink of choice through the hot & humid summers we get here. After a long day at the office, followed by an over crowded and sauna like train ride home, there's nothing nicer than relaxing on the back deck to watch the sun set with a Julep in hand :grin:

Jono
06-21-2009, 08:31
I am growing some Basil and the recipe below is similar to a mint julep.

Basil Julep

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1892003

Basil cocktails
http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/beverage/even-more-basil-cocktails-strawberry-lemon-and-vodka-051605

Something to experiment with this summer....the mint family is pretty big:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0515/p18s02-liga.html
Rosemary Julep, Marjoram Julep, Lavender Julep, Lemon Balm Julep etc.