The making of this simple, but delicious cocktail contains a certain element of violence. Punches thrown, bar stools flying and the crushing of bones it is not though. I’m talking about the rather more prosaic crushing of ice. A mint julep without crushed ice just isn’t a mint julep. Ask anyone at the Kentucky Derby where, I am told, they serve 80,000 Juleps in a single day. I fortunately only had to crush ice for 2. In its original meaning, a julep is a potion, designed to cure a variety of ills, as indeed it still does. The word “Julep” is itself a corruption of the Spanish “julepe”, which in turn derives from the Persian “gol āb“, meaning rosewater. Of which there is none in this drink.
Here’s how you crush ice in the comfort of your own home:
Use nicely frozen ice cubes, straight from the freezer. Fill them quickly into a solid bag. A freezer storage bag works very well. Otherwise use a heavy duty bin bag, put the ice at the bottom of the bag and then wrap the bag around it. Those of you horrified at the idea of using a bin bag have obviously never seen barmen use them in clubs to transport the ice. Now grab a rolling pin, wooden bat, or even a champagne bottle (preferably empty, just in case) and whack the bag. Quickly, but a lot. Don’t worry, you won’t pulverise the ice. You’re not that strong, believe me. Quickly chuck the bag back into the freezer until you need the ice or for at least 15 minutes.
The Building of the Mint Julep (for one)
- 2 sprigs of fresh mint, plus extra for garnish
- a pinch or two of brown sugar
- 15ml heavy syrup https://planestrainsandanchovies.com/?p=680
- 45ml Bourbon
- crushed ice
- a little soda water (about 45 ml)
It’s really as easy as it look in the slide show above. The correct vessel to transport the Julep to your Tulip Lips is a silver or pewter goblet, but we just ran out of these, so I thought these beautiful ceramics from a thrower in Perth would do it and you know what? I was surprised they actually did give us a nice frosted exterior, just like a real Julep Goblet (sounds like a drag queen name). The soda is really just there to make it easier to stir and transport those wonderful flavours all over the drink.
The quality of the mint is really vital, so we are fortunate in that our dilapidated condo has a beautiful herb garden! We pluck the mint fresh, just before we manufacture our Juleps and my, does it make a difference!
Yup, that’s the garden. We have 3 types of basil, rosemary, pandan, bananas, ginger flower, wild pepper leaf, chillies, curry leaves, aloe vera and of course mint.