This is the perfect summertime drink. If you don't believe us, try it out for yourself. We did our research and found out how true southerners drink theirs. Below is what we found out. Cheers!
- 12 fresh mint leaves
- one sprig for garnish
- dash of sugar syrup
- 2 ½ ounces bourbon
- fine sugar
Hot To Make A Mint Julep
- Place mint and a dash of sugar syrup in julep cup or 8- to 10-ounce old-fashioned glass and gently crush leaves with a wooden muddler, working them up sides of glass.
- Pack glass with finely crushed ice, then add bourbon. Drizzle remaining sugar syrup on top and garnish with mint sprig lightly dusted with sugar.
History of the Mint Julep
The mint julep originated in the southern United States, probably during the eighteenth century. U.S. Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky introduced the drink to Washington, D.C., at the Round Robin Bar in the famous Willard Hotel during his residence in the city.The term "julep" is generally defined as a sweet drink, particularly one used as a vehicle for medicine. The word itself is derived from the Spanish "julepe", from Spanish Arabic, and this from the Persian word (Golâb), meaning rosewater.
The mint julep was originally prescribed and appears in literature as early as 1784 "sickness at the stomach, with frequent retching, and, at times, a difficulty of swallowing. I then prescribed her an emetic, some opening powders, and a mint julep." An appearance of a mint julep in print came in a book by John Davis published in London in 1803, where it was described as "a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning."Davis’ interviewee mentions his love for whiskey came from his daily preparation of the drink.
Americans enjoyed not only bourbon-based juleps during the nineteenth century, but also gin-based juleps made with genever, an aged gin. British Captain Frederick Marryat's 1840 book Second Series of A Diary in America describes on page 41 the "real mint julep" thus: There are many varieties [of Mint Julep], such as those composed of Claret, Madeira, &c.; but the ingredients of the real mint-julep are as follows. I learnt how to make them, and succeeded pretty well. Put into a tumbler about a dozen sprigs of the tender shoots of mint, upon them put a spoonful of white sugar, and equal proportions of peach and common brandy, so as to fill it up one-third, or perhaps a little less. Then take rasped or pounded ice, and fill up the tumbler. Epicures rub the lips of the tumbler with a piece of fresh pine-apple, and the tumbler itself is very often incrusted outside with stalactites of ice. As the ice melts, you drink.
The 1862 edition of Bar-Tenders Guide: How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant's Companion by Jerry Thomas includes five recipes for the mint julep (as well as an illustration of how it is to be served) allowing for either Cognac, brandy, gin, whiskey or sparkling Moselle. Thomas states of the mint julep, "...a peculiarly American beverage...It was introduced [later] into England by Captain Maryatt." A holiday "Jingle Bell Julep" which uses macerated strawberry, cherries and raspberry instead of a mint base at the Round Robin Bar. In 1916, the traditional Virginia recipe as served at the "Old White" is described ...the famous old barroom, which was approached by a spiral staircase. Here in this dark, cool room, scented with great masses of fragrant mint that lay upon mountains of crushed ice, in the olden days were created the White Sulphur mint julep and the Virginia toddy, for which this place was famous the world over.
The mint juleps were not the composite compounds of the present day. They were made of the purest French brandy, limestone water, old-fashioned cut loaf sugar, crushed ice, and young mint the foliage of which touched your ears.