Mint Julep Recipes: A Sure Bet Among Kentucky Derby Contenders
Mint Julep Recipes: Enjoying The Kentucky Derby 2010
There are some excellent traditions and none is finer than enjoying a tasty Mint Julep watching the running of the horses during the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby and was first served at Churchill downs when it opened in 1875 but the book The Kentucky Mint Julep traces the origins of the drink to before the Kentucky Derby. Author Colonel Joe Nickell says the mint juelp recipe mixture was used to help medicines and tonics more palatable.
Charles Dickens and Washington Irving were known to be fans of the julep. They shared a "most enormous mint julep, wreathed with flowers" at a dinner in Baltimore in March 1842. Dickens later wrote that the "enchanted julep" contributed to impressions "made among the most memorable of my life."
The early 20th century Kentucky writer Irvin S. Cobb stated in his recipe book that the Civil War "was brought on by some Yankee coming down south and putting nutmeg in a julep. So our folks just up and left the Union flat."
So while we may disagree on the favorites and fret over the post positions we can agree on the tradition of the Mint Julep, and there are as many Mint Julep Recipes as there horses in the Kentucky Derby. However, the traditional recipe for a mint julep has 4 ingredients; mint (in Kentucky spearmint is preferred), bourbon, sugar, and water.
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Jim Bean's Mint Julep, By Louis Rice
The following recipe for Mint Juleps was given to me by Booker Noe, Jim Beam's grandson. It produces juleps on par with the recipe given to me by Bill Samuels of Maker's Mark, but it is much less labor intensive.
There are six essential ingredients for a proper mint julep:
- good 90 proof bourbon whisky (I prefer Maker's Mark),
- fresh mint leaves,
- metal cups (preferably silver),
- short straws, and
- shaved ice (the kind snow cones are made with).
Once these accouterment have been assembled, you are ready to proceed.