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May 06

Greatest Hits: Mint Julep

Last year, Kevin & I got to take a cocktail class from Josh Durr, and one of the drinks we made was a mint julep. Since the Kentucky Derby is tomorrow, I thought I’d repost such an excellent mint julep recipe and experience.
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Back in March 2010 – Wine Festival week, to be exact – Kevin and I took a Bartending 102 class from Josh Durr at Tonic. We learned how to make mint juleps and I ran right home and wrote up this post.

Photo Credit : Bruce Crippen | Business Courier

The most important thing I learned from Josh in this particular session was that, with a mint julep, the method is more important than the ingredients.

Place the mint in the bottom of the cup.

Pour in 1/2 oz of maple syrup.
We used this in place of simple syrup and I really loved the results.

Photo Credit : Bruce Crippen | Business Courier

Add 1 oz of Bourbon.
I believe we used Ancient Ancient Age in the classroom, but pick your favorite. Josh also suggested Old Grand-Dad and Old Weller.

Roll the muddler on the mint, rolling towards the top of the glass. Make sure to get the oils on the rim on the glass.
This takes a certain amount of technique, as I learned. Don’t pound on the mint either – you want the mint to be minty, and pounding? Well that just makes it bitter.

Next, crush your ice.
I used an old fashioned ice crusher Josh had handy. I swear my grandma had one on her bar and I loved it. Kevin pounded away on a bag of ice with the muddler. Both methods are valid.

Photo Credit : Bruce Crippen | Business Courier

Add crushed ice to your glass until it is filled just under the edge.

Stir, pulling up from the bottom of the glass.

Next, add another 1 oz of bourbon.

Add a second layer of ice, so that it sort of resembles the shape of a sno-cone.

Garnish with 2 short straws and a sprig of mint.

Honestly, this made one of the best mint juleps I’ve ever had. What was even more surprising was that I made it myself! I know it sounds easy in the directions, but the technique – especially with muddling – is tricky to get the hang of.

Happy Derby Day!

Photos from Business Courier article about our class, by photographer Bruce Crippen.

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Posted by Michelle at 8:37 am in Greatest Hits, Wine Misc | Permalink | Comments (8)

8 Responses to “Greatest Hits: Mint Julep”

  1. New on Wine-Girl: Greatest Hits: Mint Julep http://dlvr.it/Qr8WW

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  2. Greatest Hits: Mint Julep: Last year, Kevin & I got to take a cocktail class from Josh Durr, and one of the drin… http://bit.ly/lp9MMF

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  3. WineBlogFeed says:

    Greatest Hits: Mint Julep http://bit.ly/lyrzJz #Wine

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  4. Greatest Hits: Mint Julep: Last year, Kevin & I got to take a cocktail class from Josh Durr, and one of the drin… http://bit.ly/lyrzJz

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  5. Greatest Hits: Mint Julep: Last year, Kevin & I got to take a cocktail class from Josh Durr, and one of the drin… http://bit.ly/lyrzJz

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  6. Greatest Hits: Mint Julep http://bit.ly/kZCc33

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

  7. Jay Erisman says:

    Chris McMillian’s mint julep is the single greatest cocktail in America. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gJV-O1e10z8

    Here is the text Chris begins to recite at 4:36:
    “Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure. Then comes the julep—the mint julep. Who has not tasted one has lived in vain. The honey of Hymettus brought no such solace to the soul; the nectar of the Gods is tame beside it. It is the very dream of drinks, the vision of sweet quaffings. The Bourbon and the mint are lovers. In the same land they live, on the same food they are fostered. The mint dips its infant leaf into the same stream that makes the bourbon what it is. The corn grows in the level lands through which small streams meander. By the brook-side the mint grows. As the little wavelets pass, they glide up to kiss the feet of the growing mint, the mint bends to salute them. Gracious and kind it is, living only for the sake of others. The crushing of it only makes its sweetness more apparent. Like a woman’s heart, it gives its sweetest aroma when bruised. Among the first to greet the spring, it comes. Beside the gurgling brooks that make music in the pastures it lives and thrives. When the Blue Grass begins to shoot its gentle sprays toward the sun, mint comes, and its sweetest soul drinks at the crystal brook. It is virgin then. But soon it must be married to Old Bourbon. His great heart, his warmth of temperament, and that affinity which no one understands, demand the wedding. How shall it be? Take from the cold spring some water, pure as angels are; mix it with sugar until it seems like oil. Then take a glass and crush you mint within it with a spoon—crush it around the borders of the glass and leave no place untouched. Then throw the mint away—it is a sacrifice.
    “Fill with cracked ice the glass; pour in the quantity of Bourbon which you want. It trickles slowly through the ice. Let it have time to col, then pour your sugared water over it. No spoon is needed, no stirring is allowed—just let it stand a moment. Then around the brim place sprigs of mint, so that the one who drinks may find a taste and odor at one draught.
    “When it is made, sip it slowly. August suns are shining, the breath of the south wind is upon you. It is fragrant, cold and sweet—it is seductive. No maiden’s touch could be more passionate. Sip it and dream, it is a dream itself. No other land can give so sweet a solace for your cares; no other liquor soothes you so in melancholy days. Sip it and say there is no solace for the soul, no tonic for the body like Old Bourbon whiskey.”

    I met Chris and Laura McMillian when they briefly relocated to Ft. Thomas, Kentucky, after Katrina. They are simply the best kind of people.

    —Jay Erisman, The Party Soruce

  8. lizscherer says:

    @mmWine Nope. http://bit.ly/ir4Iv6

    This comment was originally posted on Twitter

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