View Full Version : Mint Julep

05-07-2005, 14:51
In the interest of science, I've taken it upon myself to research the proper care and use of the Mint Julep. Obviously, this will require extensive use of both bourbons and ryes, and I am willing to shoulder that burden.

But on to the other main ingredient: mint.

The wife and I have just been back from the nursery loaded with peppermint, spearmint, applemint, and even chocolatemint(!?). Varieties we saw but didn't get include grapefruitmint and lemonmint. My guess is that when a recipe calls for "mint" they mean spearmint.

Has anyone ever consciously chosen a variety of mint? I've always just used "mint", but there seem to be a whole bunch of choices.


05-07-2005, 14:53
No, I haven't actually bought or compared various mint plants, but the mint leaves in mint juleps have always struck me as spearmint, too.


05-07-2005, 15:46
I agree with Tim that spearmint is the traditional type: originally wild mint was used that grew in the Kentucky rivers and branches.

Jack Daniel (to change the theme only slightly) used tansy with sugar in his whiskey. If anyone sees tansy at truck gardens or otherwise, you might try this variation on the julep, with Tennessee whiskey ideally, but bourbon would not be out of place.


05-07-2005, 18:36
The official drink of the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep. If you use your search engine, you will find alot of information about Kentucky Mint Julep's...and the noted silver cup http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif "Most" all sources will state a "specific brand of bourbon" or state "bourbon" as one of the ingredients.

The Early Times (http://www.kentuckyderby.com/2004/derby_experience/mint_julep.html) mint Julep is proudly advertised as the drink of the Kentucky Derby. That link states that...80,000 Mint Juleps will be served during the Oaks and the Derby...8,000 liters of Early Times Mint Julep, 2,200 pounds of mint, and 80 tons of shaved ice. I have checked "every word" on that link and nowhere does the word "bourbon" appear. I checked their bottles on that link too...Eary Times, Kentucky "Whiskey"...Early Times, has been used for the past 16 years.

Early Times, is not bourbon...Well, not in the United States. Early Times "bourbon" is a Export only kinda thing.

Now, I wonder, do they make a exception with our most famous drink during the Kentucky Derby...or maybe I've been wrong all these years for naturally thinking that "Bourbon" is the prime ingredient our this most famous drink...or is this one of those Shhhhhhhhhhhh and don't tell a soul kinda things?

Any more or's? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Bettye Jo

05-07-2005, 23:18
The funny thing is that another Brown Forman product is "For the seventh year in a row Woodford Reserve is the Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby!"

Methinks they are multi-tasking with a corporate licensing agreement. Early Times is the official "drink" where Woodford is the official "bourbon." I suppose they could also make Jack Daniel's the official Tennessee Drink of the Kentucky Derby - but that might not have the best ring to it...
Link (http://www.woodfordreserve.com/events.asp)

And where, you may ask, is Old Forester in all this Brown Forman-Fest? In my glass, of course - and tasting mighty fine, too.


05-08-2005, 06:19
Leslie and I were good for 2 of those 80,000 mint juleps http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif $10/ea, but at least you got a derby glass http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif At the MM brunch we also had several mint Juleps made with the Maker's Mark pre-made mint julep. Maker's was by far the better of the two IMHO. They both used spearmint I believe, so the difference was probably in the bourbon (or non-bourbon). Leslie and I are going to make a few mint Juleps tonight and relax out on the deck. I am going to try and find some peppermint instead of spearmint http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif

05-18-2005, 17:09
I used to grow chocolate mint back in Alabama and preferred that in my juleps. I have spearmint growing here at the store, right out in front in an old clawfoot tub full of dirt. (No, I don't have a rusty car or an old toilet parked out front to make me feel right at home. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif) Customers can grab a hand full of mint on the way home!

Of course, there's the argument to bruise or not to bruise. I like 'em both ways and won't argue either. I put together this little mint julep primer for Derby Day customers (see attached).

We had juleps for derby day with Brenda's burgoo recipe (see her previous post on burgoo). sorry in a rush and too stupid to figure out how to link to that post

05-20-2005, 10:44
Whenever the subject of mint juleps comes up, I like to enlighten people about their true nature. Misunderstandings about mint juleps, especially involving people who only know them from Churchill Downs at Derby, have led to this venerable drink gaining a bad reputation.

What I want to clear up is this. The mint julep is not a cocktail. It is not meant to be sipped and savored. The proper way to drink a mint julep is to drain it within 30 seconds of making it. Otherwise the whiskey become too diluted.

The next time you do mint juleps, at least try one my way. You'll see that it is a completely different and, I believe, much more satisfying experience.

05-20-2005, 15:25
I wouldn't mind seeing Brenda's recipe at all! I was in your store a couple of weeks ago and bought a bunch of Bourbons,very impressive selection! I made myself and my brother mint juleps which were pretty good, and I'd like to see if Brenda's recipe is better. I did a search for the word "burgoo" and turned up a web site, but I couldn't find the recipe on it, which can definitely simply mean I didn't know how to do so. Anyway, if you can direct me to it I'd appreciate it. Thanks Tom

06-04-2005, 13:19

The next time you do mint juleps, at least try one my way. You'll see that it is a completely different and, I believe, much more satisfying experience.

Yeah Buddy!
All my life, I've considered Mint Juleps a waste of (mostly crappy, but never-the-less, most of the time) Bourbon. Something the tourists drank.

But you are exactly right! After reading a post of your's from ages ago, I tried it. When you drink it like a shot, it takes on an entirely different personality!

We had this very discussion while watching the Preakness. Folks in my group had read your quote on my (half-done-for-years) website. They called me to question. I told them to keep an open mind and give it a shot. Since alcohol was part of the ticket, they said ok... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif

There were 6 folks at our table. Each one agreed that it was (oh yeah) much better.

So now, I'm sure this is grounded in something you've found, somewhere, somehow. I'm really, really interested in hearing the history here.

06-05-2005, 11:21
Personal experience, mostly, having drunk the julep both ways.

History comes into it in that most times I have read accounts of people drinking juleps they make a toast and drink them down. They don't sip on them for an hour. That is probably what gave me the idea. There had to be an answer, because I couldn't imagine that Kentuckians would invent such a crappy drink.

Also, when you think about the accoutrements--crushed ice, metal glass--it's clear that the idea is to chill the liquor quickly, which also leads to dilution if you don't drink it right away.

06-05-2005, 12:43
Gerald Carson (Social History of Bourbon) includes a long encomium to the mint julep by a Kentucky lawyer, Judge Soule Smith, which Carson calls, "one of the great set pieces of Southern eloquence". Part of the quote:

"When it is made, sip it slowly. August suns are shining, the breath of the south wind is upon you. It is fragrant, cold, sweet - it is seductive. No maiden's kiss is more tenderer or more refreshing; no maiden's touch could be more passionate [this clearly before the era of love and sex being viewed as "hot"]. Sip it and dream, you cannot dream amiss. Sip it and dream, it is a dream itself... Sip it and say there is no solace for the soul, no tonic for the body like Old Bourbon".

Clearly here we have a devotee of the slow sipping school. We should remember that when Smith wrote, bourbon (or such as he drank) was 100 proof at least, and while some decay of flavour would be expected in a sipped drink, it would hold its own. I have said many times on this board that the mint julep may have endured because it reminded Kentucky palates of the whiskey they knew and their ancestors knew in Pennsylvania - straight rye whiskey that is, which has the mint taste built in. Conversely, a high corn recipe has little of any mint taste so once Kentucky experimented by adding wild mint to their drink (probably initially for colour, emulating perhaps the effect of borage in old English mixtures) the similarity to Old Monongahela may have been noticed and people stuck with it. And so Smith rhapsodises on the mint:

"By the brookside the mint grows. As the little wavelets pass they glide up to kiss the feet of the the growing mint, the mint bends to salute them. Gracious and kind it is, living only for the sake of others. ... When the Blue Grass begins to shoot its gentle sprays towards the sun, mint comes, and its sweetest soul drinks at the crystal brook. It is virgin then. But soon it must be married to Old Bourbon. His great heart, his warmth of temperament, and that affinity which no one understands [save fellow barrister Gary Gillman, but he came later], demand the wedding. How shall it be?" [whence follows the encomiast's personal recipe].


06-10-2005, 09:48
I've always had them with peppermint myself.

It's difficult to find the "one true julep" because the recipe kept changing. For instane, before the days of ice and bourbon the julep was made with water and rum.

06-10-2005, 15:29
How shall it be?" [whence follows the encomiast's personal recipe].

And the recipe was?

06-10-2005, 16:22
And the recipe was?

How shall it be? Take from the cold spring some water, pure as angel's are; mix it with sugar till it seems like oil. Then take a glass and crush your mint within it with a spoon--crush it around the borders of the glass and leave no place untouched. Then throw the mint away--it is a sacrafice. Fill with cracked ice the glass; pour in the quantity of Bourbon which you want. It trickles slowly through the ice. Let it have time to cool, then pour your sugared water over it. No spoon is needed; no stirring allowed--just let it stand a moment. Then around the rim place sprigs of mint, so that the one who drinks may find taste and odor at one draft. Then when it is made, sip it slowly.

formula of Judge J. Soule Smith--as retold in Irvin S. Cobb's recipe book of 1936

06-10-2005, 16:30
Originally it was wild mint as discussed. The use of peppermint sprigs was considered sacrilegious.

06-10-2005, 17:03
Judge Soule Smith knew his way around the English language - and a thing or two about whiskey and its accoutrements, didn't he? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif


06-12-2005, 12:22
Last night we conducted a controlled experiment involving mints, whiskey, and sugar water. To wit - the Mint Julep.

Four drinks were prepared, with 2 independent variables and proportions to taste, so no ironclad conclusions could be reached.

1-Pour hooch over ice in Penguin Shaker (photo exhibit 1):
2-Bruise and tear mint, toss into small bowl;
3-Add desired amount of simple syrup to bowl, allow mint to saturate with syrup for a moment, until leaves darken;
4-Pour syrup into Penguin and shake the bejeesus out of the mixture (savor mental picture of covera rt of Cars "Shake it Up" album
5-Strain over freshly crushed ice into glasses
6-Garnish with big sprig o'mint

Drink 1:
Michter's US1 Rye
Apple Mint
simple syrup

The apple mint complemented the spicy rye with fruity, well...apple-y aromas. The sugar added thickness and foundation to the otherwise thin drink.

Verdict: Fresh and exciting, a party starter

Drink 2:
Sunny Brook (early '80s ND)
Chocolate Mint
simple syrup

This bourbon is great for its thick, smooth flavor without heat or overly much spice. This allowed the delicate chocolate notes to dominate the aroma, and the flavor to be "rich and thick and chocolate" (as the bunny used to say). Strangely, the aroma from a distance was very chocolatey (said our non-drinker from the next spot on the couch), but the nose-in-glass aroma was very minty.

Verdict: A long, smooth sipper. The antithesis of the choke-it-down shooter of which Chuck talks.

Drink 3:
Weller Antique 107
Pepper Mint
simple syrup

This drink didn't marry as well as 1 and 2. I had thought that the body and the sharp, but quickly fading heat and spice of the Antique would give an early bourbon-dominated flavor that would mellow to a lingering winterfresh Pepper Mint finish, but the panel thought that the mint dominated and left the marriage behind.

Verdict: Pleasant and lasting, but not sorted out fully.

Drink 4:
Old Grand-Dad 114
Spear Mint
simple syrup

This was the simple, straight-ahead julep of the group. Grand-Dad supplied the bold attack for which bourbon is legendary, and the spearmint has the standard flavor of mint. It was hella strong, though, and required some water addition and ice-melt time from one taster.

Verdict: The shooter of the bunch, and a bracing one at that.

My high school science teacher taught that the conclusion of all research papers should be the opening pitch for funding of the next study. Therefore:

Preliminary results point towards the mint julep being a versatile cocktail that can be tailored to deliver many pleasing experiences, from quick, bracing toasts, to long, soothing sippers. However, any conclusions reached in this study require verification with further research.

Roger - Research is Cool! - Hodges

04-11-2006, 08:27
And here's a mint julep you can sample at this year's Derby... ; ))


04-11-2006, 08:41
This url should go to an online article about $1000 mint juleps for sale at the Kentucky Derby - apparently made with Woodford Reserve.



04-12-2006, 15:43
At least this is for chaity, so as the wealthy conspicuous consumers spend their cash, it's going to a good cause.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - As if custom-made hats, premium box seats and limo rides weren't enough, the Kentucky Derby will now feature the $1,000 mint julep.

Sip this drink slowly.

The sweet cocktail will be made with one of the state's finest bourbons and served in a gold-plated cup with a silver straw to the first 50 people willing to put down the cash at the May 6 race.

Mint from Morocco, ice from the Arctic Circle and sugar from the South Pacific will put this mint julep in a class of its own, the distillery selling the drink said.

"We thought we would reflect on and complement the international nature of the Kentucky Derby,'' said Chris Morris, master distiller for Woodford Reserve. The distillery, owned by Louisville-based Brown-Forman Corp., will sell the drink only on race day to raise money for a charity for retired race horses.

The company already sells about 90,000 mint juleps at the Derby each year but hopes what's being dubbed the "ultimate'' mint julep will catch on. Those who buy the $1,000 cocktail will get to watch Morris and others make it.

"People want a memory,'' said Wayne Rose, Woodford Reserve's brand director. "This is something they can take home and share with friends.''

Mint juleps have been synonymous with the Kentucky Derby for decades. They are often served in silver or pewter cups and are meant to be sipped and savored.

The new 24-karat gold cup promotion fits in with the high-class atmosphere, said Gary Regan, a spirit and cocktail expert who's been to the Derby twice.

"I think there will be enough people with enough money at the Kentucky Derby that will go for that sort of thing,'' said Regan, author of "The Joy of Mixology.''

Churchill Downs officials said the expensive mint juleps will help raise awareness about the needs of retired thoroughbreds.

"A concern has developed over time that these horses were finding their way to be sold for slaughter,'' track spokeswoman Julie Koenig said.

Churchill Downs will funnel money from the pricey juleps to the New Jersey-based Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides homes for the former race horses.

"These horses are there making these memories special to us,'' Kornig said. "It's nice to find a way to give back to them.''

04-15-2006, 14:20
Tonight, I prepared my first mint julep. It was done partially in the way that's explained on Early Times website, partially as on Jim Beam website. I didn't boil the sugared water (ET recommends boiling), but I used Early Times bourbon. Here are the steps I followed:
1. Mix 2,50 glasses of water and 3/4 glass of sugar in a bowl and stir with a spoon,
2. Add a handful of fresh mint leaves to this solution and gently crush these leaves with a spoon,
3. Leave this mixture in the refrigirator for 45 min.,
4. Take the mixture back and throw away the leaves. Now, the syrup is ready.
5. Crush 3-4 fresh mint leaves at the bottom of a glass (I used a "rocks" glass i.e. tumbler),
6. Add four tablespoons of crushed ice in the glass-I prepared this crushed ice by using a blender :)
7. Add 2 ounces of bourbon (I used Early Times bourbon), two ounces of syrup, garnish with a fresh mint leaf. I also added an ice cube.

Well, it looked fine, was delicious and nice to drink :yum: But maybe I should add a bit less syrup next time, since it became much diluted as the ice melted. Now, I'll be very happy if I can get your comments about the proportions for my syrup and the julep as a whole. If only I could serve this for you for a test! My first mint julep :)

By the way, the reason for my Early Times choice is that they claim to produce the ET Mint Julep as the official drink of Kentucky Derby, and I wanted to start with this one to have an idea about if it was really that much good for me, too. I'll try with other bourbons to make comparisions.

04-16-2006, 07:47
Yes...its starting to be Julep season!

Here's what I found makes a great Mint Julep: I do think its important to boil the sugar and water until the water dissolves. AND the 1 to 1 ratio sugar/water is also essential. You dont want your julep too sweet.

At the point of the sugar dissolving, I put in a bit handful of Mint. Right in the cooling simple syrup...cover...and into the refrigerator overnite.

The next morning, strain off the mint and you have a very nice mint infused mint syrup.

If you like bourbon like we all do, use about a 3 to 1 or better, 4 to 1 bourbon to syrup ratio. The bourbon I use is at least 86 proof, and no more than 100. (altho, a Wild Turkey 101 julep I've had, is great!)

If Im serving a lot of juleps at a party, I'd put that ratio into a 1.75 liter bourbon bottle. Shake it up a little then pour over crushed ice....about 2 to 3 ounces.

This, for me, makes perfect juleps everytime....enjoy!

04-16-2006, 12:02
Thank you. But, I have two questions:

1. I always feel as if it would be a too sweet syrup with the 1 to 1 sugar to water ratio. I think you adjust the taste by adding more bourbon to the same amount of syrup than me. Am I right?
2. Why is boiling the syrup important?

BTW, I liked this julep drink very much, indeed. For this summer, I've got sth. different to serve :)

04-17-2006, 07:24
1- I'm not sure about this one, at least regarding mint juleps. I make my syrup strong, to give me more control over the amount of water in my cocktails. By strong, I mean 2:1 sugar to water, which seems standard for recipes I've seen.

2- The syrup turns transparent when it boils, so you don't make foggy cocktails.

04-17-2006, 23:48
The last good mint julep I enjoyed was on an afternoon in October of very pleasant mild temperature on a Louisiana sugar cane plantation. One knows when one has had a very good mint julep when one does not recollect how good or bad the second, third and fourth ones were.

04-18-2006, 10:05
The last really good mint julep I had was many years ago at Commanders Palace in New Orleans. It was livingly hand-made by a bartender who had (obviously ) many years of experience. Perhaps it was the company of the friends present, but it was an experience that has never been duplicated since.

04-18-2006, 13:22
Regarding the sugar/water ratio:

What you are making in cooking terms is called a "simple syrup". The classic simple syrup is always a one to one ratio of sugar to water. The water should be boiled for two reasons: to fully melt and make the sugar and water a single liquid with no sugar granuals remaining, and to fully infuse and integrate the mint. The overnite refrigeration seals the deal on that.

You;re right...you adjust the sweetness of the Julep by adding more or less bourbon...not adding more or less sugar to the syrup. Remember, the syrup enhances the beautiful bourbon! Its a bourbon-first, drink afterall. Your really want to taste the bourbon.

What you want to end up with is a true mint syrup not just a hint of a mint, but a totally other concoction away from the mint, water, and sugar.

It's just the basis of good cooking!

04-18-2006, 16:06
Regarding the sugar/water ratio:

What you are making in cooking terms is called a "simple syrup". The classic simple syrup is always a one to one ratio of sugar to water. The water should be boiled for two reasons: to fully melt and make the sugar and water a single liquid with no sugar granuals remaining, and to fully infuse and integrate the mint. The overnite refrigeration seals the deal on that.

You;re right...you adjust the sweetness of the Julep by adding more or less bourbon...not adding more or less sugar to the syrup. Remember, the syrup enhances the beautiful bourbon! Its a bourbon-first, drink afterall. Your really want to taste the bourbon.

What you want to end up with is a true mint syrup not just a hint of a mint, but a totally other concoction away from the mint, water, and sugar.

It's just the basis of good cooking!

Ah, you beat me to it, I was going to throw down my knowledge gained from the cooking channel on the simple syrup.

And now all this reading has me convinced that I need to make a Julep, I had a taste of a mojito (sp?) a while back and loved the mint flavor, so a bourbon based minty cocktail has to be amazing! I have never been much for adding pollution to my alcohol in case you're wondering to yourself "he's never had a mint julep?!?!"

Question: Has anyone ever mad a George T Stagg mint Julep? Does better bourbon make a better julep? Or do you reach a point of diminishing returns where, say, WT101 (or RR) is good enough?

04-18-2006, 17:31
The sweetness and mint are strong enough in a mint julep that I wouldn't use something REALLY nice in it, but you do want a good flavorful bourbon, imo. I'd go with OGD or WT 101, something with a spicy rye kick to it, which cuts nicely through the sugar and mint. A Stagg mint julep would certainly get its point across, though.

04-18-2006, 20:39
Gee and I always thought the Mint Julep was all about having a cold refreshing drink on a hot summer day using cheap whiskey.

04-19-2006, 13:52
I thought this was a way for Churchill Downs to get $8.50 for 30 cents worth of bourbon and $.03 of mint.
There's no better form of capitalism than creating a tradition.

From the Hypocrites' corner: I drink them every year at Churchill

04-19-2006, 15:39
The $1,000 julep is a cute gimmick for a reasonably good cause, but I have a quarrel with one statement in the article.

They are often served in silver or pewter cups and are meant to be sipped and savored.

The mint julep is absolutely not meant to be "sipped." It should be drunk as soon after it is made as possible. That's the purpose of the crushed ice, to chill it quickly. Wait too long and it gets diluted. The reason many people don't like juleps is because they drink them wrong. In addition to diluting the whiskey, time tends to overemphasize the mint. With Derby fast approaching I can't emphasize this strongly enough. If you want to get the most out of your julep experience, watch it being made, or make it yourself (avoid the "mass-produced" variety), and down it immediately. That is how a julep is meant to be enjoyed.

04-19-2006, 20:23
If you want to get the most out of your julep experience, watch it being made, or make it yourself (avoid the "mass-produced" variety), and down it immediately. That is how a julep is meant to be enjoyed.

Music to my ears Chuck! I hate sipping cocktails, part of the reason I usually just opt for it unpolluted.

I picked up some fresh mint tonite and think if I get motivated enough I am going to make the simple syrup, if not tonite then tomorrow night.

04-23-2006, 02:41
Last night I tried my second mint julep. This time, I exactly followed the recipe given on the Early Times website. That is:

1. Crush a few fresh mint leaves at the bottom of a glass (mine is a rocks glass),
2. Add 2 oz. Early Times bourbon,
3. Add 1 tablespoon simple syrup,
4. Add 1 tablespoon water,
5. Fill with finely crushed ice and stir gently until the glass becomes frosty.

For the simple syrup:

1. Mix one to one sugar to water,
2. Boil for five min. without stirring,
3. Pour mix over a handful of fresh mint leaves,
4. Crush the mint leaves gently with a spoon,
5. Refrigerate overnight,
6. Remove mint leaves and continue to refrigerate.

It was really very good, I enjoyed this mint julep very much :drink:
My next step will be to try the same recipe with upper shelf bourbons available here. Jim Beam Black is likely to be the first one to try with.

04-23-2006, 16:55
"Minting" the syrup is an ET innovation. It is not standard practice. I also recommend a mint leaf garnish, which serves as more than mere decoration, as it fills the nose with the scent of mint right before you drink.

Simple syrup probably is the best sweetener. Powdered sugar also is good and plain old granulated sugar works fine too.

I would omit the water, as the crushed ice provides all the dilution you need.

I wonder if the mint available to you there is the same type as what grows wild in Kentucky?

04-24-2006, 13:30
Well, I do not know much about the "mint types", frankly. And when it comes to garnishing, actually I did the garnishing with a fresh mint leaf but I forgot to write about it above :) By the way, though I like bourbon neat, I also enjoyed mint julep, and I think I'd enjoy a drink even just with simple syrup, ice and bourbon mix. (even without the mint flavour, I mean).

05-01-2006, 17:08
We have used Bill Samuel's recipie for mint juleps at our last two Derby parties and they have worked well. This is a recipie where you infuse the bourbon with mint and then mix it with simple syrup. It's mighty tasty to me.

Still, it's a strong drink and the non whiskey drinkers in the crowd rarely can handle it. Remember, I live in NC not KY. I figure if I keep having these Derby parties eventually I'll get some folks that can drink 'em.

05-01-2006, 18:13
A good way to make a julep a little easier for the lightweights is to throw in a little Sprite or 7Up. Not much, maybe an ounce or two.

05-06-2006, 21:34
Unfortunately I slept through the Derby getting ready for my first night back to work after another too short vacation but I did see the ESPN piece on the Thousand Dollar Julip. They only had three cups left when the sucke..er philanthropist whipped out ten crisp C bills "from his kid's college fund" and forked it over. After tasting the julip, he remarked that "that Woodford is worth two thousand bucks". I think I'd settle for a single grand for my bottle sitting on my shelf if he's interested....:slappin: :slappin: :slappin:

05-17-2006, 12:58
Jerry Thomas' 1862 cocktail text mentioned in another thread today and available in online form contains an interesting section on juleps and "The Real Georgia Mint Julep". In his discussion of the Georgia version, one can see, first, that the mint julep was mythologised and eulogised as early as around 1860. That is, people even then were bemoaning the disappearance ("decadence" as it was quaintly termed) of the "real" julep of the old South. Things aren't what they used to be - even in 1862 - or, weren't what they used to be. (I can't get my tenses right these days). Anyway, SB-ers will be pleased to learn that while Thomas' recipe for the real Georgia version used cognac and peach brandy not whiskey, Thomas appended to that recipe a note on what might be termed the "real real" mint julep. It is a quotation from a Georgia newspaper which called for a julep to be made not just with "whiskey", but "mellow whiskey"! This was Jerry's way of telling us THAT was the original version. And, as the newspaper piece revealed, even then arguments coursed about whether to crush the mint. The Georgia journal advised without equivocation to insert the sprigs in the crevices of the ice and dismissed airily any version made with crushed mint and shaken. So, I give you the real original julep, at the brink of oblivion in 1862 but preserved and sped to us via the miracle of electronic communications in 2006. Only thing is, the real real Georgia version sounds pretty modern: reports of its "decadence" were, um, exaggerated. :)

As I say, Thomas gives recipes for cognac juleps and other julep-type drinks, including a whiskey version, which call for crushing the mint (the whiskey example appears under the strange name, "crustas") but one can see he had his eye on tradition and gave direction to those who would preserve it.

Jerry would have been an ace at Gazebo.


05-17-2006, 16:27
"Any guy who'd put rye in a mint julep and crush the leaves, would put scorpions in a baby's bed."

- Irvin S. Cobb, about H. L. Mencken

05-27-2006, 00:30
What bourbon do you recommend to make a mint julep?

My favorite is Van Winkle 12 Lot B, but it can be a little too sweet (so often add less sugar), but VW's always good.

05-30-2006, 18:36
What bourbon do you recommend to make a mint julep?

I make mint juleps pretty rarely and don't have a bourbon preference for making them. If I have Very Old Barton 100 proof on hand (which I don't always, since I have to get it in Kentucky) that's my go-to for a lot of mixing and cooking purposes.

06-01-2006, 10:16
Tall glass full of Ice
1 1/2 OZ Mint Julep (premixed)
10 Ounces unsweetened Tea.
Sprig of Mint as garnish
Lemon wedge

Tea, Mint, Ice: This is pretty darned good.

Gillman, did I invent this? (probably not. Hope it doesn't have a stupid name like Old Fart's Tea):rolleyes:

06-01-2006, 11:39
Never seen it, Ed, it sounds great.

I think it should be named the Mr. Ed.!

Would've been perfect for my cocktail before the Sampler and save some elbow grease. Let's collaborate for the next one. :)


06-01-2006, 11:49
I prepared sth. a bit different from the general practice of mint julep tonight. This is not a new recipe, though. I mixed two onces of bourbon with one tablespoon of mint syrup (the minted simple syrup which I had prepared according to the ET recipe a few weeks ago). Then I added cubes of ice. It's really good. No fresh mint leaves in the glass, no crushed ice but ice cubes, but it still tastes very good. Taste is...mint, vanilla (ET), sweet, on the rocks. That's good. Maybe this is something between mint julep and man o'war.

04-16-2007, 20:36
I figured I'd dig up this thread as the Derby is approaching and with the Derby Juleps always come to mind for me.

Has anyone perfected a new recipe or do any new members have one they'd like to share?

04-17-2007, 05:55
I just had a mint julep last night with a simple recipe. I used 2 teaspoons of Buffalo Trace Mint Julep mixer with 2 ounces of Buffalo Trace. Very nice sipping on the front porch enjoying spring listening to the birds singing. My bluebirds have babies.


04-17-2007, 18:13
I tried a Mint Julep for the first time a few nights ago at a local bar.
Very impressed. :yum:

I think I'll be attempting to make these at home :)

04-18-2007, 05:00
Yeah I was pretty impressed by the Mint Julep too Cam, I have been wanting to try one for ages.......I would also like to try and make them....for effect I need to find me one of those pewter cups :)
We may have to go back and watch Matt make one and get a feel for it.


04-18-2007, 14:39
We may have to go back and watch Matt make one and get a feel for it.

I'm all for spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon there watching him make me mint juleps :D

04-18-2007, 16:38
I'm all for spending a Saturday or Sunday afternoon there watching him make me mint juleps :D
Sounds like a pretty good plan to me! I wonder what they charge for those suckers.......
Maybe we need to go there when the KY Derby is on!


04-20-2007, 23:19
Well I have a whole bunch of mint growing in my yard for quite while. A few years ago when I found SB I started making juleps, what the heck, a new way to use up the (spear) mint growing in my yard. The wife and I absolutely love them!
Anyway, it's not difficult, at least the ones we make taste great to us!
So, here's a julep that sure tastes great, let me know if you agree:

Take a bunch of mint and strip the leaves off the branches. In a manhattan type glass you'd want to have the bottom just covered to about a quarter of an inch or so. Throw in a 1/2 to a full teaspoon of sugar, depending on how sweet you like things, add about a 1/2 a tablespoon of water and mash the sugar into the mint with the back of a teaspoon until the sugar is disolved and the mint is well bruised. Add a bunch of ice, a sprig of mint and your bourbon (I use about 3-3 1/2 oz) , stir and enjoy!
... We have ordered mint juleps in many establishments and never had a better one! Tom V

04-21-2007, 07:27
Tom, that is exactly the way I like to make them. I , too, prefer granulated or superfine sugar over simple syrup.


04-27-2007, 13:11
Yep, I prepared my first mint julep of this spring. I started by preparing the minted-syrup, again. Then I took my first sip of the julep tonight. It was delicious :yum: But I used relatively small ice cubes to fill the glass, not crushed ice. It worked though, together with a tablespoon of water, for a frosty glass. Spring's great time !

BTW, I used JBW for the mint julep, this time.

05-01-2007, 04:17
I ordered a Mint Julep at my favorite bar the other day. It was okay. Halve the sugar and double the bourbon (Elijah Craig 12) and it would have been good.


05-01-2007, 05:03
Leslie and I made mint juleps last night and we both agree: less sugar and more bourbon. Most recipes call for around a teaspoon I think. We used 1/2 teaspoon and it was fine. We also used ETL, which is one of the sweeter bourbons available, IMHO. I also like a lot more mint, and typically will use around 10 bruised leaves plus garnish. :yum:

05-19-2007, 06:08
I have been starting the evening with mint juleps and have been experimenting with the syrup. My latest mix is start with a pint jar and fill with half and half water and white Karo syrup. The water thins out the syrup so it will pour more easily. I put in 1/2 teaspoon of McCormick mint extract. Leave a little air at the top so you can mix it well. Now if I want a mint julep it is a simple task to put some crushed ice in my shaker and add 2oz of bourbon [I like WL Weller 12yo] and add 1 tablespoon of my syrup mix and shake. This is enough mix to last me all summer. Add a sprig of mint if you like for effect.


07-29-2007, 05:45
Last night I prepared a mint julep following the simpler way: I crushed five fresh mint leaves at he bottm of a glass with one tablespoon of sugar and a little water, then filled the glass with ice, added two oz. bourbon (Ten High) and a little more water. It was really delicious. I think this method gives more of that fresh feeling than the minted sugar syrup, besides it's easier to prepare.

It's very hot here. Fortunately, just one week later, I'll go on a seaside holiday for two hot august weeks :)

09-09-2007, 16:00
I make these cause my wife likes em.
I grow 2 mints. Kentucky Colonel, a cross between apple and spearmint, said to be bred specificly for juleps, and the less traditional Robert Mitchum Peppermint which I like to add to the mix, crazy heretic that I am.
The thunder was his engine and the lightning was his load.

12-06-2007, 19:10
Inspired by Bettye Jo mentioning a brand of bourbon called Pendennis Club in the current vbt thread, I found online this early 1900's recipe for a mint julep associated with the famous Pendennis Club of Kentucky. The Club was known (in whiskey terms) for creating some famous whiskey cocktails.

It seems too it gave its name to a brand of bourbon. The recipe is notable for a number of reasons, including (what I have never heard before) that in a mint julep the mint should not be tasted but rather only smelled as the drink is consumed.

The Blue Grass Cook Book
Compiled by Minnie C. Fox (1904)

By a well-known member of the club, Louisville, Ky.

These are some essentials:

1st. Fine, straight, old Kentucky Bourbon whisky-blended whiskies do not give good results.

2d. An abundant supply of freshly cut sprigs of mint-preferably young shoots-no portion of which has been bruised.

3d. Dry, cracked flint ice. A glass will answer the purpose, but a silver mug is preferable. At this club, silver cups are kept on ice. A syrup of sugar and water is also kept on hand.

The silver cup is first filled with the ice, and then the desired quantity of fine whisky poured in and thoroughly shaken with a spoon or shaker until a heavy frost forms on the mug. The desired amount of syrup is then poured in and stirred enough to be mixed. The mint is then carefully placed in the mugs with the stems barely sticking in the ice and the tops projecting 2 inches above the top of the cup. Straws are then placed in the cup, reaching from the bottom to about 1 inch above the top, and the sooner one sticks one's nose in the mint and begins drinking through the straws the better. There is no flavor of mint, merely the odor.

Any stinting in quality or quantity materially affects the result.

The complete Blue Grass Cook Book may also be found on the Michigan State University website:
'Feeding America: The Historic American Cookbook Project'


12-06-2007, 23:23
Any stinting in quality or quantity materially affects the result.

I think I will make this my motto.

12-08-2007, 05:10
Looks like I need to find some dry cracked flint ice, by the time I crush ice it starts to melt.
It would make thew world of difference to my favorite cocktail! I will have to try it without bruising mint in the bottom of the cup.