Friday, May 02, 2008

Dictionary Friday: Mint Julep

mint julep
One of Kentucky's claims to fame, the mint julep is an alcoholic drink made with fresh mint (sometimes MUDDLED with sugar), bourbon and plenty of crushed ice. It's traditionally served in an iced silver or pewter mug at the running of the famous Kentucky Derby. However, it's a refreshing favorite on any hot day.

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst

Welcome to Derby weekend. Today's Chowhound recipe, complete with totally interesting article (seriously) is for this weekend's ubiquitous beverage: the mint julep. It's a simple drink to make, with just bourbon, mint julep. Did you know that some people claim the drink was invented in Maryland? I can see that, based on the mint that grows wild everywhere I look (including behind my garage and in Cooper's parents' front yard)...except for the bourbon factor. Somehow I have a feeling the true father of the drink lived someplace a little south of here.

Surprising fact from the article: 70% of non-Southerners and 73% of Southerners have never had a mint julep. Actually...I find that a little hard to believe. I'd be more inclined to guess that 73% of the people who went to college in the South have had a mint julep at some point in their drinking career.

Unfortunately for both Cooper and me, much like many graduates of Virginia's esteemed institutes of higher learning bourbon was such a staple during our undergrad days that we can't even smell it anymore (but oh, did I love a bourbon and ginger back in the day). We keep a bottle of Maker's in our house, but the only person who ever drinks it is our friend Clancy. He went to school in New York, so it wasn't ruined for him.

So there will be no mint juleps in our house this weekend, though there will be a lot of Waskoms (Tom and Cail are coming up tonight and are going to a wedding tomorrow, Erin and her friend Kathleen are coming up tomorrow to belatedly celebrate her birthday, and everybody - parents included - will be here Sunday morning for brunch, and to entertain Dixon). Should be interesting.

Anyway - happy Derby!


becky from hatch said...

Growing up in Cincinnati, we always tried to pretend we lived 80 miles south in Louisville and had Derby parties. Also, at UVa, the julep was the drink of choice for graduation, which was a major step up from the 1/10th diet coke, 9/10ths Virginia Gentleman bourbon we had had football games. Thanks for the recipe!


Kit Pollard said...

Ooh - Virginia Gentleman. I've had WAY too much of that! Must be a VA school thing...

Pigtown-Design said...

My chef friends made the juleps, but my great x 4 grandfather was spinning in his grave. they used a simple syrup with VANILLA BEANS!!! Holy mother of god! What were they thinking? I practically had to decline the drink. But I gagged a couple down, but mostly because we made them with Woodford (?) reserve bourbon and hand grown mint from Kitchenography's garden!

Kit Pollard said...

Sounds like a tough weekend, Meg. You certainly did sacrifice.


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