I found rare treatise on the Mint Julep and want to share it with everyone else who is interested. It is out-of-print, but if you are going to use this somewhere please give me a credit for typing the whole thing up for the web, Thanks!-Chris THE MINT JULEP The Very Dream of Drinks FROM […]
I found rare treatise on the Mint Julep and want to share it with everyone else who is interested. It is out-of-print, but if you are going to use this somewhere please give me a credit for typing the whole thing up for the web, Thanks!-Chris
THE MINT JULEP
The Very Dream of Drinks
FROM THE OLD RECEIPT
OF SOULE SMITH, DOWN
IN LEXINGTON, KY
THE GRAVESEND PRESS
The mint julep has aroused almost as much argument as the war between the states. The controversy over the correct receipt for making the famous drink has raged back and forth between Kentucky and Maryland, Louisiana and Georgia and heated discussions, to sat nothing of wagers, are likely to accompany the mere mention of the drink. In Georgia, mint juleps have been made with corn whiskey, sweetened with molasses, while depraved New Yorkers have gulped down juleps concocted with such bizarre ingredients as Creme de Menthe and maraschino cherries. It is no wonder that the late Irvin Cobb declared the outsiders “pretenders and upstarts” and that no one but a Kentuckian knew how to make a mint julep.
The classic receipt for the Kentucky mint julep was published over half a century ago in Kentucky Whiskies. It was written by Soule Smith, lawyer, journalist, and superb raconteur of considerable local fame. In this famous receipt, the making of a mint julep becomes a ceremony. In loving and mellifluent language, the subtle blending of cold spring water with fragrant mint and good Bourbon whiskey and cracked ice somehow evokes the whole charm of the Blue Grass countryside. Here, then, is the famous receipt printed once again in a small illustrated edition for the delight of good Kentuckians everywhere.
THE MINT JULEP
But in the Blue Grass land there is a softer sentiment—a gentler soul. There is where the wind makes waves of the wheat and scents itself with the aroma of new-mown hay, there is no contest with the world outside. On summer days when, from his throne, the great sun dictates his commands, one may look forth across broad acres where the long grass falls and rises as the winds may blow it. He can see the billowy slopes far off, each heaving as the zephyrs touch it with a caressing hand. Sigh of the earth with never a sob, the wind comes to the Blue Grass. A sweet sigh, a loving one; a tender sigh, a lover’s touch, she gives the favored land. And the moon smiles at her caressing and the sun gives benediction to the lovers. Nature and earth are one—married by the wind and sun whispering leaflets on the happy tree.
Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure. Then comes the julep—the mint julep. Who has not tasted one has lived in vain. The honey of Hymettus brought no such solace to the soul; the nectar of the Gods is tame beside it. It is the very dream of drinks, the vision of sweet quaffings. The Bourbon and the mint are lovers. In the same land they live, on the same food they are fostered. The mint dips its infant leaf into the same stream that makes the bourbon what it is. The corn grows in the level lands through which small streams meander. By the brook-side the mint grows. As the little wavelets pass, they glide up to kiss the feet of the growing mint, the mint bends to salute them. Gracious and kind it is, living only for the sake of others. The crushing of it only makes its sweetness more apparent. Like a woman’s heart, it gives its sweetest aroma when bruised. Among the first to greet the spring, it comes. Beside the gurgling brooks that make music in the pastures it lives and thrives.
When the Blue Grass begins to shoot its gentle sprays toward the sun, mint comes, and its sweetest soul drinks at the crystal brook. It is virgin then. But soon it must be married to Old Bourbon. His great heart, his warmth of temperament, and that affinity which no one understands, demand the wedding. How shall it be? Take from the cold spring some water, pure as angels are; mix it with sugar until it seems like oil. Then take a glass and crush you mint within it with a spoon—crush it around the borders of the glass and leave no place untouched. Then throw the mint away—it is a sacrifice.
Fill with cracked ice the glass; pour in the quantity of Bourbon which you want. It trickles slowly through the ice. Let it have time to col, then pour your sugared water over it. No spoon is needed, no stirring is allowed—just let it stand a moment. Then around the brim place sprigs of mint, so that the one who drinks may find a taste and odor at one draught.
When it is made, sip it slowly. August suns are shining, the breath of the south wind is upon you. It is fragrant, cold and sweet—it is seductive. No maiden’s touch could be more passionate. Sip it and dream, it is a dream itself. No other land can give so sweet a solace for your cares; no other liquor soothes you so in melancholy days. Sip it and say there is no solace for the soul, no tonic for the body like Old Bourbon whiskey.