If you live in south Louisiana, you become quite accustomed to drinking certain alcoholic drinks during certain times of the year. For instance, you always drink gin & tonics in the hot summer months, but never in the fall and winter (my aunt gave me quite the upbraiding when she saw me drinking a gin and tonic one Thanksgiving).
One of the drinks that we make quite often is the Mint Julep. The drink is as southern as it gets, and it can be found at nearly every restaurant or tourist attraction down here. The history of the drink varies from source to source. The first appearance of a mint julep in print came in a book by John Davis published in London in 1803, where it was described as “a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning.” However, Davis did not specify that bourbon was the spirit used. The mint julep originated in the southern United States, probably during the eighteenth century. U.S. Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky introduced the drink to Washington, D.C., at the Round Robin Bar in the famous Willard Hotel during his residence in the city.
Regardless of where it originated, the drink continues to be a staple in the South. There are few things that cool you down and quench your thirst better on a hot summer day than an ice cold mint julep on a shady front porch.
The Cabin Restaurant serves them year round. We like to make sure that you can taste the bourbon and the mint. The sweetness from the simple syrup provides a backdrop to the other two flavors. Here’s our simple recipe:
6-8 mint leaves
1 tablespoon homemade simple syrup, (2 parts water and 3 parts sugar, heated until sugar melts), cooled
3-4 ounces bourbon (depends on how strong you like your drink)
Sprig of mint for garnish
Put the mint leaves and the syrup in the bottom of a mint julep cup. With the handle of a wooden spoon, crush and mash the leaves to extract the flavor.
Pour in the bourbon. With a long-handled spoon, stir to mix. Add ice to to just below the rim of the glass. Stir again to chill. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve.