True mint juleps are made with Maryland rye

May 16, 2011

"Muddling the Mint Julep" by Rob Kasper (Editorial notebook May 7) was an excellent choice of subject and had some excellent technical information but contained some bad history.

Where Mr. Kasper went wrong was to side with an identified "Kentucky Colonel," Mr. Cobb, instead of a renowned local Maryland expert, H. L. Mencken, on the right choice of whiskey for an historic mint julep The right choice was and is rye whiskey. At the end of the American Revolution, Kentucky wasn't even a state while Maryland already had 159 years of experience in the refined (as well as unrefined) drinking of ardent spirits. It was rye that Marylanders used in their mint juleps at a time when the drinking of bourbon was in its infancy (if it was invented at all in this early period).

Over time the upstarts from the Kentucky region have endeavored to take over the legacy of this fabled drink with superior publicity, the success of which is evident by Mr. Kasper falling for it. But a true mint julep starts with rye. Aye.

Jim Morrison, Gibson Island

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