Gently muddle the mint and syrup in a julep cup with a barspoon, working the leaves up the sides of the cup. Pack the cup with finely crushed ice, pour the spirit over the ice and stir till the cup frosts. Top up with ice and garnish with a large mint sprig and a straw cut so only 1 inch of it protrudes from the drink.
|Prep Time||1 minute|
|Tags||1600-1775 (Punch Age), Classic, Elegant, Summer Drink|
|Strength||1.7 standard drinks|
Mint Julep all frosty:
Mint juleps have a long and storied history. The drink can be a little intimidating to prepare as everyone has his or her own twist on the mint julep recipe. For me it boils down to quality ingredients and simple preparation so the quality can shine through.
First, the mint. You can usually find decent mint at the grocery store. But if you like this drink and start drinking mint juleps regularly, that grocery store mint is going to start to add up. It is far better to just grow your own.
The reason I pour the whiskey in before the ice is so it will blend well with the syrup. I have found that ice before whiskey, even with the stirring to frost the glass leaves most of the syrup on the bottom of the cup. This leads to quite a sweet suck on the straw at first.
You can substitute a rocks glass for the silver julep cup if you wish. But to make this drink properly you need a silver julep cup. It doesn't have to be solid silver and cost $400. A plated one will do fine and frost up quite nicely. Glass is an insulator and you will need to stir a lot longer before you frost it up.
The idea behind the sprig of mint and the cut straw in this mint julep recipe is so you get a heavy dose of mint aroma while you enjoy this drink. Burying your nose in the mint as you sip from the straw is one of life's finer pleasures. And don't use a paper straw - it will quickly fray and clog up.
Some recipes call for the mint to only be used for a garnish. Mint flavored syrup is used instead in the actual drink. I like the mint in the drink. If you do use mint syrup, try making your own.
I use Bulleit bourbon in my juleps. I used to use Basil Hayden, but they changed their formula and it was not a change for the better.
Back in the 19th Century mint julep recipes called for brandy or rye. Either will make an excellent mint julep and if you use both Cognac and rye whiskey together, you have a Prescription Julep as mentioned in Dave Wondrich's Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash.