June 2, 2013 (Day 24) – The Real Georgia Mint Julep
Another tipple pulled from the genius mind of America’s first celebrity mixologist, Professor Jerry Thomas.
The first thing many people notice about this is that, according to Thomas, a real Mint Julep is made with Cognac as opposed to bourbon.
- Take 1 tea-spoonful of white powered sugar.
- ¾ wine-glass (1.5 oz) of Cognac brandy
- ¾ wine glass (1.5 oz) of peach brandy.
- About 12 sprigs of the tender shoots of mint.
Put the mint in the tumbler, add the sugar, having previously dissolved it in a little water, then the brandy, and lastly, fill up the glass with shaved ice. Stir with a spoon but do not crush the mint. This is the genuine method of concocting a Southern mint julep, but whiskey may be substituted for brandy if preferred.
A Georgia paper recently (1860s) speaking on this subject says :
Probably the old-fashioned julep is in its decadence as a public drink, but it does not follow that the art of constructing this famous Southern refresher is lost. On the contrary, we have knowledge of several old-fashioned gardens where the mint bed under the southern wall still blooms luxuriantly ; where white fingers of household angels come every day about this time of the year and pluck a few sprays of the aromatic herb to build a julep for poor old shaky grandpa, who sits in the shady corner of the veranda with his feet on the rail nnd his head busy with the olden days.
In such a household the art is still preserved. With her sleeves rolled up, the rosy granddaughter stirs sugar in a couple of table-spoonfuls of sparkling water, packs crushed ice to the top of the heavy cutglass goblet, pours in the mellow whiskey until an overthrow threatens and then daintily thrusts the mint sprays into the crevices. And the old man, rousing from his dreams, blesses the vision which seems to rise up from the buried days of his youth, and with bis gay nose nestling peacefully in the nosegay. At the summit of his midday refresher, quaffs the icy drink, and with a long-drawn sigh of relief sinks back to dream again until the dinner bell sounds itg hospitable summons. The mint julep still lives, but it is by no means fashionable. Somehow the idea has gotten abroad that the mint ought to be crushed and shaken up with water and whiskey in equal proportions.
No man can fall in love with such a mixture. Poor juleps have ruined the reputation of the South’s most famous drink.