Georgia Mint Julep
Resident Classfare bartender Ryan Victor of Clark Lewis shares the history and recipe for his favorite American cocktail – the Georgia Mint Julep.
We have a rich and storied history of capital “A” All American cocktails in these United States. The Boulevardier, the Manhattan, the Martini…hell, the Hurricane. All are significant contributions to the world of cocktails. But in selecting just one from a sea of possibilities, my heart is drawn to the Julep.
The Julep has enjoyed a diverse history, existing in many forms from cognac to gin and brandy to whiskey. As a Georgia native, I’m proud to say that the Mint Julep as it’s known today is originally the “Georgia Mint Julep”. A drink to be enjoyed as an afternoon libation by fine Kentucky ladies or in the form of whisky barrels, to which mint and sugar was added to rally the antebellum electorate to the polls, encouraged to cast their vote for the name branded upon the staves. A mainstay of social lubrication since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Julep predates even the Sazerac. Besides, what’s more American than liquor and legislators?
With the Julep, ratios vary widely – ingredients never. Mint, bourbon, sugar, and crushed ice. Always crushed ice. If you’re fancy enough, serve it in a pewter mug with a handle or base by which to hold the Julep (so one’s hands don’t detract from the frost).
Our recipe utilizes Portland-made Temperance Trader bourbon, which has enough spice to be present in such a fragrant cocktail. Just add a bunch of bruised mint, demerara syrup, and lots of crushed ice (full recipe and preparation below). Despite the theatrics, the Julep is one of the simplest, most straight-forward cocktails to execute at home.
But seriously, crush that ice.
– RECIPE –
• 2 oz. Temperance Trader Bourbon
• 3/4 oz. Demerara syrup (1:1 ratio of demerara sugar and water, mixed)
• 5 to 6 sprigs of mint, plus 1 for garnish
• crushed ice
– PREPARATION –
- Muddle your mint (there are many ways to bruise your mint)
- Place your mint leaves in a dry mixing glass and gently press with a muddler
- Place some leaves in one hand, and slap with your other
- Hold 1 bunch by the stems and strike a surface like a table top (or even your forearm, showoff)
- Crush your ice (choose your favorite method of destruction)
- Muddle ice cubes in a mixing glass
- Crush in a Lewis ice bag with mallet
- Your refrigerator door just might dispense it
- After bruising your mint, place in a stirring pitcher or mixing glass and add your Demerara syrup
- Add your bourbon
- Fill 2/3rds with crushed ice, stir until your mixing glass is nice and frosty
- Pour to glass (if you don’t have pewter mugs, old fashioned glasses work great)
- Top with more crushed ice and as many sprigs of mint as you can handle