Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

Best mint julep recipe ever! Really.

Happy Derby Day. Sit down right now and read Walker Percy’s essay about Bourbon. I’m a Southerner, so trust me on this: the mint julep recipe Cud’n Walker provides is the best one ever. The dusting of nutmeg is the secret ingredient, but it’s also vital to crush the ice. I wouldn’t have guessed that, but boy, does it ever make a difference. You’re welcome:

You need excellent bourbon whiskey; rye or Scotch will not do. Put half an inch of sugar in the bottom of the glass and merely dampen it with water. Next, very quickly–and here is the trick in the procedure–crush your ice, actually powder it–preferably in a towel with a wooden mallet, so quickly that it remains dry, and, slipping two sprigs of fresh mint against the inside of the glass, cram the ice in right to the brim, packing it with your hand. Finally, fill the glass, which apparently has no room left for anything else, with bourbon, the older the better, and grate a bit of nutmeg on the top. The glass will frost immediately. Then settle back in your chair for half an hour of cumulative bliss.

Dadgum, it’s not even 11 a.m. here on the East Coast, and I want me one of them things.

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jen a

posted May 1, 2010 at 11:38 am

Well, the races have already begun, so of course you can start now. If you were actually in Louisville today, you would totally be on your second by 11 am!
As they say on the tour at Maker’s Mark, All bourbons are whiskeys but not all whiskeys are bourbons.

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Chuck Bloom

posted May 1, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Yeah but Julie ain’t wearing no silly hat…after three juleps, you won’t care.
I preferred Kentucky bourbon to Tennessee, but usually sipped (and drank, there IS a difference) Scotch when I once was able to partake. Stopped that long time ago per doctor’s orders.
Today’s Captcha words (deriving persians). REALLY?

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J Cass

posted May 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm

The recipe for the Mint Julep you have posted is a weak copy of the real deal. Being from Kentucky and parents were shown the real recipe years ago you don’t use real sugar and never heard of nutmeg ever!

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posted May 1, 2010 at 3:28 pm

Jacqueline said that you know you’re in The South when you measure sugar by the inch! Amen and amen.

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lancelot lamar

posted May 2, 2010 at 9:31 am

God bless Walker Percy. The greatest American writer of the 20th century. I do not drink, being from a long line of old time Methodists and Baptists, but he makes me want to.

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Mac S.

posted May 2, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Over a decade ago, my first mint julep turned me as green as the mint in the glass. Walker’s essay made me want to try again but this year’s Derby was not the time. Maybe the summer BBQ will have a NEW house special.

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posted May 3, 2010 at 3:59 pm

My late father-in-law, a bartender, invented a version of the mint julep using tequila instead of bourbon. He called it, of course, the Tequila Mockingbird.

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posted May 5, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Powdered sugar, or confectioner?

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