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Thread: Mint Julep

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  1. #39
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Toronto, Canada
    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.

    Last edited by Gillman; 05-17-2006 at 18:07.



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