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Thread: Mint Julep

  1. #1
    Virtuoso
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    Mint Julep

    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.

    -Roger

  2. #2
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    Re: Mint Julep-Yes! But what mint?

    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.

    Tim

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Mint Julep-Yes! But what mint?

    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.

    Gary

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
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    Re: Mint Julep-Yes! But what mint?

    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 "Most" all sources will state a "specific brand of bourbon" or state "bourbon" as one of the ingredients.

    The Early Times 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?

    Bettye Jo

  5. #5
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    Re: Mint Julep-Yes! But what mint?

    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

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

    -Roger

  6. #6
    Administrator in exile
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    Re: Mint Julep-Yes! But what mint?

    Leslie and I were good for 2 of those 80,000 mint juleps $10/ea, but at least you got a derby glass 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

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
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    Re: Mint Julep-Yes! But what mint?

    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. ) 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
    Attached Files Attached Files

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Mint Julep-Yes! But what mint?

    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.

  9. #9
    Advanced Taster
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    The Recipe

    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

  10. #10
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    Re: Mint Julep-Yes! But what mint?

    Chuck,
    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...

    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.
    Bj

 

 

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