View Full Version : Anita Madden's Mint Julep

04-29-2001, 20:27
This recipe was included in the Miami Herald's bourbon article. It comes from Anita Madden, a Kentucky horse-woman who has hosted lavish Derby parties on Derby Eve. Enjoy!

Fresh mint
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons mint syrup
(instructions follow)
1.5 to 2 ounces bourbon
crushed ice
confectioners' sugar

To make mint syrup, crush a "whole handful" of mint leaves and combine with 1/3 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Boil for five minutes and strain.

Pour mint syrup in sterling silver cup. Add bourbon. Mix.

Fill cup with crushed ice. Rub fresh mint around rim. For garnish, dip fresh mint sprig in confectioners' sugar and insert in ice. Serves 1.

Have you got another mint julep variation? Please share them, I'll give them a try Saturday during the Kentucky Derby.


04-30-2001, 05:00
Hi Omar,

Thanks for the recipe. Here are two more offered for your consideration...

For those who may be new to the wonders of Bourbon Culture, the Mint Julep is a tall, cold drink, made with Kentucky bourbon, and enjoyed by Kentuckians the world over. It is traditionally served on the first Saturday of May (the day the Kentucky Derby horserace is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville). Of course, this fine drink can be made and enjoyed on any other day as well, but it's difficult to find a Kentuckian who would ever actually do so.

Two excellent recipes for mint julep...

(1) Make a mint syrup by boiling together two cups of water, two cups of sugar, and two handfuls of fresh mint leaves. Refrigerate overnight and then take the mint leaves out and discard.
To make the julep, fill a tall frosted glass (metal is better, silver is best and traditional) with crushed ice. Pour in about two tablespoons of the mint syrup and two shots of bourbon. Garnish heavily with sprigs of fresh mint -- this is important; don't skip the garnish. Serve with straws cut short enough that the drinker's nose must practically touch the garnish.

Note: Make sure the glass is tall and frosty cold. I firmly believe that the REAL purpose of a mint julep is to have something cold to press against your face and forehead and to hold in your hands during the five to ten minutes you have to stand out in the sun watching as they set up and run the race.

(2) This recipe is from Lynne Tolley of Mary Bobo's in Lynchburg. Of course, her version calls for Jack Daniel's Tennessee whiskey and thus would be sacreligious at the Kentucky Derby, but you can certainly substitute any Kentucky bourbon and it will be excellent just the same. Unlike the above recipe, it really <u>does</u> matter what whiskey you make this one with. It should be one of your favorite brands.

1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons water
3 sprigs fresh mint
3 ounces of your favorite Tennessee or Bourbon whiskey
2 ice cubes (not crushed)

Use a chilled, 10-ounce glass.
Throw away the sugar, water, and mint.
Pour the whiskey over the ice.
Makes 1 serving.


04-30-2001, 13:11
I've had many a bad Mint Julep served to me, so after some experimentalization,
the following is what I've decided:

1) Start with good bourbon. If you're using Ten High, then forget it. I've
had great results with Van Winkle 15, Rare Breed, and Elijah Craig 18. The
beautiful flavor of the Julep comes from the bourbon, so you have to start
with a bourbon that has beautiful flavor.

2) A few crushed mint leaves won't give you the minty-ness you're after. I
noticed that one of the above recipes uses a tea made beforehand from fresh
mint leaves. Sounds marvelous. There's a fancy Tea Shoppe near me that
has great dried mint for tea, cooking, etc., and I make a tea out of that
to use as a base.

3) Easy on the sugar. I'm one of those that likes sweet iced tea. The sugar
should be added when the the iced tea is hot for it to taste right. But
a mint julep made correctly needs little sugar. The bourbon is sweet
already! Let the bourbon shine through.

4) Silver cups and fresh mint sprigs add a lot of class. After all, it's
Derby Day. You're wearing a tie. Don't sweat the silver cups if you
don't have them, but there's no excuse for not going to the grocery store
and picking up some fresh mint.


It doesn't matter that much what order you do things. I start with the
bourbon (it's easy to figure out how much is in there if it's the first
ingredient... some people might like to make it the last ingredient for this
reason). Next some water and the pre-made mint tea. A pinch or two of sugar
and some crushed mint after that. Finally ice and then a big sprig of mint to
go up your nose. I like crushed ice personally, but that's just me.

Oh, and some people tend to like more sugar than others, so I humor them and
make the drink to their liking.

Most people trying to make juleps for the first time dig up a recipe from a
bartender's handbook, and spend all their time trying to make Simple Syrup,
i.e. sugar water, on the stove. This is (in my opinion) unneccessary, unless
you're a bartender working at an actual bar, in which case you already own
simple syrup becuase you bought it. The only reason to use it is that the
sugar is already pre-dissolved, so you can save all of 22 seconds by not having
to wait for the sugar to dissolve.



05-01-2001, 16:53
The key to a really good mint julep is fresh mint, ideally picked just seconds before you make the drink. Mint Juleps should be made individually, not in a batch. For the full effect you need shaved or cracked ice (I'm not real particular about which) and silver (silver plate works just as well, truthfully) julep cups. The idea of the ice and the metal cups is that everything chills very quickly. That's another reason to make them individually. They are best when drunk immediately and pretty quickly, before the ice over-dilutes the whiskey.

So as not to over-complicate or over-mystify the actual making, I suggest mulling (crushing) some mint leaves with some regular old sugar and a little bit of water. Then add your ice, fill with bourbon, garnish with more mint and drink. If it isn't quite right, make corrections on the next one. There will be a next one.

--Chuck Cowdery (http://cowdery.home.netcom.com)

05-11-2002, 14:25
That last recipe reminds me of the old story, "The Kentucky Breakfast". I won't try to repeat the whole thing, as it is somewhat of a shaggy dog story. A short version:

Foa a real Kentucky breakfast, you need a large beef steak, a bottle of Kentucky bourbon, and a hound dog. Then there's a ritual described of how to go about drinking the bourbon. Finally, someone asks, "What's the hound dog for?" to which the answer is, of course, "He eats the beef steak."


05-11-2002, 14:31
Chuck, thanks. That is the recipe I have always preferred. It is the only recipe I remember ever seeing until the past few years. Nowdays, every recipe seems to have the bit about making the syrup, but in the old days, they always said to "muddle" the mint leaves in plain granulated sugar and a bit of water. That way always made a damned fine drink, to me.


05-11-2002, 18:21
Heh, heh. This got me interested and I made myself a mint julep (I am sipping it, now). I hadn't had one in at least about ten years.

I followed some of the above advice and only used a scant teaspoon of sugar. I was trying to make it with Old Forester 100, but I ran out. I decided the best thing to add to make a full drink was Woodford Reserve (ended up being about 2/3 OF and 1/3 WR). Anyway, my mint julep is excellent. A nice strong bourbon flavor, a slight increase in sweetness, and the delightful mint overtone.

Cheers. Tim