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Rughi

Mint Julep

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Rughi

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

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ratcheer

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

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Gillman

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

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boone

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 grin.gifgrin.gif "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? grin.gif

Bettye Jo

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Rughi

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

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jeff

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

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LeNell

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. 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

43175-MakingaMintJulep.doc

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cowdery

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.

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tmas

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

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brendaj

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... 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.

Bj

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cowdery

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.

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Gillman

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].

Gary

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mbanu

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.

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NeoTexan

How shall it be?" [whence follows the encomiast's personal recipe].

And the recipe was?

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dgonano

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

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dgonano

Originally it was wild mint as discussed. The use of peppermint sprigs was considered sacrilegious.

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Gillman

Judge Soule Smith knew his way around the English language - and a thing or two about whiskey and its accoutrements, didn't he? smile.gif

Gary

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Rughi

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.

Method:

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.

Conclusion:

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

post-981-14489811950282_thumb.jpg

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EricABQ

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.''

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mrt

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.

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BourbonBalls

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!

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mrt

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 :)

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elkdoggydog

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.

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