May 6, 2016
Hey, the Kentucky Derby is tomorrow! I’m guessing you have your hat and outfit picked out, and that you’ve slaved over the list of horses racing in the big race, and are ready to make your pick, place your bets, show off your hat, and eat your Derby pie. But do you have the right Mint Julep makings ready? I sure do, cause that’s what I’ll be having tomorrow. And this year, I’ll be using Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon in it, and feeling pretty awesome about the idea (I did get a bottle in the mail – don’t be jealous). It’s a fine, fine sipping whiskey, with some rich, smooth flavors and aromas: fruits, spices, hints of maple syrup. I nearly feel bad about having it in a drink! Except that it makes such a darn good julep!
Four Roses also has a good story – and every drink is better with a good story. It starts with founder Paul Jones, Jr., who was enthralled by a particularly beautiful Southern girl, and so sent her a proposal of marriage. She replied that if her answer to him was yes, he’d be able to tell because she’d be adorned with a corsage of roses at an upcoming ball. She showed up with a corsage of four red roses, and his love for her was so great, he named his whiskey after those roses. Add telling that story to your Derby traditions!
1 ounce simple syrup
Fresh mint leaves (4 or 5)
3 ounces Four Roses single barrel bourbon
Fresh mint sprig for garnish
1. Take one mint leaf and rub it over the inside of a metal julep cup (if you have one) or a highball glass. Be sure the mint touches each inch of the glasses inside. Drop the leaf in the glass when done.
2. Add the remaining mint leaves and the simple syrup to the glass. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle the leaves and syrup. You want to be strong, but respectful.
3. Fill the glass halfway with crushed ice. Add the bourbon. Stir until the glass gets chilly.
4. Fill the glass the rest of the way with crushed ice. Stir once. Garnish with a mint sprig.
A Note: To be traditional, you must crush the ice in a cloth bag. But if this is too much work, just start with crushed or cracked ice.
A Quote: “A Mint Julep is not the process of a formula. It is a ceremony and must be performed by a gentleman possessing a true sense of the artistic, a deep reverence for the ingredients, and a proper appreciation of the occasion.” –S.B. Buckner, Jr. in a letter to General Connor, 1937.
August 30, 2011
Everyone (and I mean everyone) knows that I like reading Anthony Trollope. Heck, I’m the president of the “Bring Back Trollope in Zombie Form to Write More Books” club. And I’ve had some Trollope quotes on here before, cause he likes to slip in some drinks and pubs and such into his books. Or, I should say, liked (at least until Zombie Trollope). He wrote loads of books, and I’m slowly reading them all (and re-reading some). Recently, I picked up a lesser known ear;y-ish Trollope number called The Three Clerks, and liked it plenty. Especially because it was about three, well, clerks, of a youngish age, and so as they were living la vida loca circa 1874, they imbibed quite a bit. The book has mention of three kinds of gin (regular, Hollands, and Old Tom), rum, brandy, the Bishop, and even the Mint Julep (and more that I don’t have space to mention). Amazing. It was hard to pin down what quotes to post here, but I went with the below two, the first cause seeing a Mint Julep mentioned in an 1800s English novel is rare and the second cause I like the word “hogshead.” Just know that if you read the book (which I suggest) you’ll find many, many others.
One man had on an almost new brown frock coat with a black velvet collar, and white trousers. Two had blue swallow-tailed coats with brass buttons; and a fourth, a dashing young lawyer’s clerk from Clement’s Inn, was absolutely stirring a mixture, which he called a Mint Julep, with a yellow kid glove dangling out of his hand.
In person, Captain Cuttwater was a tall, heavy man, on whose iron constitution hogsheads of Hollands and water seemed to have no very powerful effect.
—The Three Clerks, Anthony Trollope
PS: One more great non-booze quote from the book (cause I like you, reader): “He is as vulgar as a hog, as awkward as an elephant, and as ugly as an ape.”
June 26, 2009
I think writers tend to be drunks. Even those who don’t drink (such as Dangerous Dan Morris, who is drunk on life). Probably because it tends to keep them from talking too much, which might just endanger their existence. But this is just my theory. With that theory in mind though, or the end result of it (the drinking), I like to sometimes take pictures of writers imbibing, for posterity and in case I ever publish a paper on the subject. Below’s a good example, as you can see one of the finest writers, Ed Skoog, sipping a Mint Julep, before unleashing the power and glory at a poetry reading last night (also, he stalked the stage like a panther before starting in with the poetics, which was rad. The other readers should learn from his cat-like grace). You can see the typical marks of the drinking/drunk writer here: the deep look in the eyes that’s like a little sign hung up that says, “genius here,” the devotion to the act of consuming, the firm grip on the glass to keep any julep-stealers at bay. Yes, it’s a sweet (or, scary) sight. Watch for drinking writers yourself, and when you see one, take pictures and send them to me. Or, have a drink and do some writing. The choice, pals, is yours.