A Confederate confection

In anticipation of what will hopefully be a long weekend of sunshine, we have a guest writer, Misti Traya, with her take on a classic drink from the Southern States of America:

Several years ago, I suffered from back-to-back incidents of strep throat.  When I saw Dr. Sugerman, he asked what I had been doing about the pain.  “Mint juleps,” I said.  To which he replied, “Honey, I don’t believe that’s been an actual prescription since 1865.  But if it gives you relief and these antibiotics continue to fail, keep on it.  Granddaddy always said juleps were his Sunday penicillin.”  Truer words were never spoken.

Despite their slightly medicinal reputation, mint juleps are delicious.  They are traditionally made with spearmint, bourbon, sugar and water and served in frosty silver cups that stir up romantic images of the American South.  The mint julep is a cocktail from another time. A time of steamboats and petticoats and gallant men who knew to wear seersucker only during the summer months between May and September.   Even the Northern poet dandy, Edgar Allan Poe, had a weakness for this boozy smasher.

The thing about drinking juleps is that it’s not all like drinking cocktails made from other spirits.  Sure, you can get drunk off them, but you don’t feel dark and dirty like you do with gin.  Juleps make you feel light-hearted.  And possibly like you want to jump in the pool with all your clothes on. Or maybe that’s just me.

Personally, I like to try and avoid diabetic coma by cutting the sweetness of my juleps with lemon. I also use sparkling water as opposed to flat.  My reason being that most things in life are better when effervescent. I am also fond of using Bushmills Irish whiskey as it’s a little smoother and fruitier than a single malt but not as sweet as  bourbon. Not that I have anything against a traditional julep, but Bushmills is my favourite.

To make mint juleps, one must first make a simple syrup. Add equal parts of finely granulated sugar and water along with a handful of mint to a small saucepan and boil. Gradually, the liquid will thicken and tinge with green. When it is quite viscous, remove from the heat and cool. Next, add two sprigs of mint to two frosted glasses. If you haven’t got sterling cups, classic highballs will do. Add 2 shots of Bushmills, a shot and a half of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a shot of syrup.  Muddle all the ingredients then fill the glasses with ice. Finally top off with your favorite fizzy water and enjoy.

This post was originally published on the Food Network Blog.

About Henry

Henry Jeffreys was born in London in 1977. After graduating from the University of Leeds, where he studied English and Classical Literature, he spent so much time in Oddbins that they offered him a job. He worked in the wine trade for two years and then moved into publishing. At the same time he worked as a freelance journalist, book reviewer, founder member of the London Review of Breakfasts website and contributor to the Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury 2013). In 2010 he started a blog about wine called ‘Henry’s World of Booze’ which became one of the most popular wine blogs in Britain. Following its success he was made wine columnist for The Lady by Rachel Johnson and in 2014 was shortlisted for Drinks Writer of the Year at the Fortnum & Mason awards for his work in the Spectator. In 2015 he wrote a weekly column for the Guardian called ‘Empire of Drinks’ looking at history and alcohol. He is now a regular contributor to the Spectator, the Guardian, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Oldie and Food & Wine magazine on drink and other matters. He lives in Blackheath, south London with his wife and daughter. Empire of Booze is his first book.
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3 Responses to A Confederate confection

  1. Pingback: “The Bourbon and the Mint Are Lovers”, J. Soule Smith Celebrates the Start of Julep Season « The Fine Southern Gentleman

  2. Deliciousness! Lovely writing too.

  3. Pingback: Happy Almost Independence Day! | Chagrinnamon Toast

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