A day for the julep

May 02, 2012|By John E. McIntyre | The Baltimore Sun

With the Kentucky Derby coming up this weekend, you will want to make sure that you have laid in supplies for mint juleps. And to make your enterprise a success, I have retrieved material from the achives on the manufacture of a proper julep. The julep with a little sweetness and just enough melting ice to take the edge off the bourbon, combined with the refreshing scent of mint, is an ideal drink to have in your hand on a spring afternoon as the sun is going down. But first, a caution. If you are unfamiliar with the beverage, you may think of the mint julep as a genteel lady's drink. It is not. It slides down the gullet and makes straight for the medulla oblongata. You may find it advisable to keep an eye on any inexpert tipplers on the premises. On to the process:Step one: Go outside and harvest a goodly handful of mint leaves. With the early spring this year, the mint should be well along. Step two: Some traditionalists prefer a silver cup, but a squat glass with a good solid bottom will do excellently. In one or the other, mix a little sugar, about a teaspoon, with just enough water to dissolve it thoroughly. Step three: Add several mint leaves and muddle them in the sugared water. A miniature Louisville Slugger bat would do well. Here on the Chesapeake, the handle of a crab mallet will suffice. Improvise. Step four: Fill the glass with cracked ice. Do not use crushed ice, which will melt too quickly and water the drink, or ice cubes, which will not achieve the proper balance of liquids — cracked ice. Put ice cubes in a sealable plastic bag, wrap the bag in a towel, and wale away at it with a rolling pin to crack the ice; you may find it helpful to think of a political figure of your choice as you do this. Step five: Fill the glass with a respectable bourbon. Old Forester makes a highly satisfactory julep, and Maker's Mark is excellent. On no account are you to use any Tennessee whiskey. Step six: Garnish with a couple of mint leaves, and sip. Step seven: When the band plays "My Old Kentucky Home," shut your mouth and stand respectfully.Afterward, you may wish to make another round. 


 

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