The mint julep has been promoted as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1938. A widely popular cocktail, it is said to have originated in southern United States, around the 18th century. However, this style of drink goes even further back to the 15th century Europe, where a ‘julep’ was a way to make medicine go down easy. Sugar syrup was flavored, mixed with prescribed medication and served to the patient.
In pre-independence America, mint juleps were first made with brandy. As word spread down south, it gradually came to be replaced with whiskey, and sometimes, gin.
Today, the word ‘julep’ implies a sweet drink. It derives from the Spanish ‘julepe,’ which in turn has its roots in ‘golab’— the Persian word for rosewater.
This tipple is a refreshing combination of sweet, tart and minty— an ideal drink to beat the summer heat and put a spring in your step.
Mix your own Mint Julep
Lightly muddle eight mint leaves (preferably spearmint, but any kind works) and 7.5ml raw sugar syrup in a Julep cup or glass. Pour in 60ml bourbon, and swizzle gently. Fill the rest of the cup with crushed ice, and stir until well frosted on the outside. Top with some more crushed ice to make an ice dome. Garnish with a couple drops of bitters, a sprig of mint, and enjoy!
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The Penicillin cocktail might not have proven healing properties but a shot on a cold autumn night will surely do a good job flushing out the chill from your bones. The drink was originally conceived by a New York bartender going by the name of Sam Ross.