Simple Sundays: The Original Mint Julep
Well I do declare…. the original mint julep recipe is less of a recipe, more of a two page ramble about treating your mint like a newborn. “Don’t bruise it” Martha McCulloch warns again and again. I had actually finished about three other drinks before I was able to follow her instructions to a T and create my perfect cup full.. excuse me, goblet full.
That being said, they are refreshing and delicious. Perfect for all of your spring affairs- horse races, croquet matches, afternoons on the front porch- they are truly the quintessential Southern tipple. After all, “Southern women don’t drink, they just sip a lot."
Dishes & Beverages of the Old South
By: Martha McCulloch- Williams, 1913
The Mint Julep
“This requires the best of everything if you would have it in perfection. Especially the mint and whiskey or brandy. Choose tender, quick-grown mint, leafy, not long-stalked and coarse, wash it very clean, taking care not to bruise it in the least, and lay in a clean cloth upon ice. Chill the spirits likewise. Put the sugar and water in a clean fruit jar and set on ice. Do this at least six hours before serving so the sugar shall be fully dissolved. Four lumps to the large goblet is about right and ½ a gobletful of fresh cold water. At serving time, rub a zest of lemon around the rim of each goblet- the goblets must be well-chilled- turn half cracked ice, and stand springs of mint thickly all around the rim. Set the goblets in the tray then fill them up with whiskey or brandy or both, mixed- the mixture is best with brands that blend smoothl. Drop in the middle a fresh ripe strawberry, or cherry, or slice of red peach and serve at once. Fruit can be left our without harm to flavor- it is mainly for the satisfaction of the eye. But never by any chance bruise the mint- if it will give an acrid flavor ‘most tolerable and not to be endured’. To get the real old-time effect, serve with spoons in the goblets rather than straws. In dipping and sipping more of the mint essence comes out and besides the clinking of the spoons is really as refreshing as the tinkle of the ice.”