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!
When you hear the name ‘White Russian’ you know you could never go wrong with a glass of the white boozy smoothness. The White Russian has been heralded as a choice drink across books, music and films. In the cult classic ‘The Big Lebowski’, the drink is portrayed to be the perfect example of all of man’s gastronomic sins-- fat, sugar, caffeine and alcohol.
The tale of Old Pal is laced with mysteries and contradictions, much like the celebrities of the era that its creator played host to. Between the two great wars when America was dying of thirst, Prohibition was driving the likes of Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway back into the arms of Paris where people could still get a drink and talk about great things.
The name of ‘bourbon’ has been a point of contention for as long as the drink has existed, and for good reason. But there’s no arguing that whether as refreshment after a long day or a build-up to an energetic evening, bourbon sure jazzes things up.