Sunday, May 2, 2010

Muddled

We did watch the most exciting two minutes in sports yesterday, not because of any Eliza Doolittle fantasy, but because it followed directly after the most exciting thirteen minutes and fifty-two seconds in sports – the Bruins overtime win over the Flyers! 
So tonight we decided to celebrate the Kentucky Mud Race and the previously-but-no-longer muddled game-winning-goal scoring Mark Savard, not to mention this 90°, hot and humid weather with some mint juleps. I turned to my trusty cocktail resources: Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, and Mix Shake Stir.
The first had a fabulous history of the julep drink dating back to a Milton reference from around 1634 and then an 1803 reference by Washington Irving, but neither mentions mint.  It was Senator Henry Clay, who, in 1850, gave his version of the enduring mint julep. But the julep was not always made with bourbon - in fact, it seems it was originally made with real peach brandy, not peach-flavored brandy liqueur, but, sadly, the real brandy didn't survive Prohibition. Substitutions, without regard to taste, were made.
Which is all quite fascinating stuff, but I just wanted to know how to make one! I ended up using my favorite modern cocktail bible to make this simple bourbon, mint syrup, and crushed ice Run for the Roses mint julep.

For the record, Mr. Meyer doesn't muddle his mint -- he chops and steeps them in the simple syrup rather than bruise them with the back of a silver spoon as Senator Clay recommended. 

I didn’t have silver julep cups, and it was very sweet, but even with those shortcomings, it's a drink that I think that I could get used to – especially in this weather.

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