Mint Julep

Mint Julep

Mint Juleps, the drink of choice at the Kentucky Derby, are delicious and need only a few ingredients: bourbon, water, sugar and mint.

Please note the following: I do not own a traditional silver mint julep cup and neither does anyone I know. I prefer to use an old fashioned glass for my “home style” julep. I also do not keep any of those little swizzle straws you find in bars in my cupboard. So, here is my non-traditional-made-at-home mint julep.

Juleps originated in the southern US. What I find intriguing is the provenance of the word Julep. My research tells me that this word is a derivative of the Persian word golab  which means rose water.  The connection is a liquid infused with a plant oil or fragrance.  Juleps belong to a class of drink called “smashes” because of the muddling of the mint leaves in the glass. The smashing of the leaves releases the oils thus enhancing the flavor. You do not want to be too aggressive with the muddling or you will release the green chlorophyll cells and change the flavor.  You really only need to slightly crush the surface of the leaf and combine with the syrup.  Approximately 120,000 juleps are served at each Kentucky Derby. Now, that’s a lot of mint muddling!!

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