Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Mint Julep. You're Drinking It Wrong, Probably

More mint juleps are consumed on Kentucky
Derby Day than the rest of the year combined.
Mint juleps and the Kentucky Derby go together like all those other things that go together. You almost cannot mention one without the other.

Invariably at this time of year, you hear complaints about what a bad drink the mint julep is. One famous Kentucky writer famously urged his readers to go through the ritualized preparations, then throw all that muck away and drink the bourbon neat.

For those who don't know, a mint julep consists of fresh mint leaves, muddled with a little sugar, doused with bourbon and served over crushed ice with a mint sprig for garnish. It is a venerable, old drink. It is not a "bourbon mojito."

The problem with mint juleps is not with the drink, but with people who don't know how to drink it. A mint julep is most perfect the moment it is made and should be drunk quickly, not necessarily in one gulp, but without dawdling. If you sip on it, it quickly becomes a watery mess. 

Derby Day is back where it belongs, on the first Saturday in May, which this year also happens to be the first day of May, so feel free to sing "The Internationale" right after "My Old Kentucky Home." 

This has been a public service announcement.


Brian (AKA The Dean) said...

Agree with your comments about how Juleps are mis-made, but mostly mis-consumed.

I was a bartender (on and off) for 30+ years. I've never seen a Mint Julep made as poorly as the one in the linked video. An abomination.

Louisville Juice said...

I disagree. A mint julep should be allowed to steep until there is no difference in temperature between any of its components. At that point, it fuses into a single thing: icy goodness with a slight mint aftertaste that hides the fact that you've been drinking.

Richard Turner said...

Approximately how long might that generally be, LJ?

Anonymous said...

The ice, mint, and sugar should be mixed and allowed to equilibrate to the eutectic as shown here:
Once the delicious mixture of ice, sugar, and cold minty syrup has formed, then add the whisky and drink at a pace that suits you. Just, talk slower than you drink.