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!
Why is it that whiskey is so often associated with masculinity? Promoted as an extraordinarily ‘manly’ choice of poison, the liquor has almost come to symbolize a virility that society insists all men covet. This is clearly an arbitrary marketing ploy, especially when you consider that women comprise 37 percent of the whiskey drinkers in America today.
The ingredients in a Harvard cocktail are reminiscent of a Manhattan. Indeed, they are almost identical, with a couple of variations for distinction. A Harvard doesn’t have the trademark maraschino cherry garnish of a Manhattan. Rather, a thin twist of lemon peel is perched on its rim.
There is an interesting story that you will keep going back to, if you conduct research about the infamous Brass Monkey on the Internet. This particular tale is set during World War II, on the island of Macao, concerning an H.E. Rasske. Apparently a spy for the Allies, H.E.