the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

365 days of celebration

30
May

National Mint Julep Day

Posted by Brittany

National Mint Julep DayMay 30th is National Mint Julep Day, a day dedicated to the minty cocktail drink associated with the Southern United States, and especially the Kentucky Derby. A mint julep is traditionally made with mint, bourbon, sugar, and water, though there are many variations regarding its ingredients and method of preparation. Mint Juleps most likely date back to the 18th century, with one of the earliest written mentions occurring in 1803 by a British traveler who wrote about drinking one on a Northern Virginia plantation (right in our neck of the woods!). Back then, especially when ice so was limited and preparation methods took a lot of time, the cocktail was a way for a host to offer guests the best of what they had during the heat of the southern summer. Today, the drink can be enjoyed year round and has been made famous by Curchill Downs, where they are served during the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs unveiled the worlds’ largest mint julep glass, at six feet tall, in 2008, and serves $1000 mint juleps in gold-plated cups to raise money for charities benefiting retired race horses.

I’ve mentioned in several posts that I don’t really have a taste for alcohol, especially hard liquor. But I have had some pleasant surprises during this project, like the discovery of delicious Hot Buttered Rum, so I approach each new “unofficial” with an open mind. To celebrate National Mint Julep Day, I decided to forego some of the more complicated recipes that require 24 hours of refrigeration and opted for a simple “smasher” recipe instead, where you muddle the liquor and mint together. As I laid out the ingredients, the drink started to look promising — with fresh mint, sparkling water, and quality Maker’s Mark bourbon I thought we might have another winner. When Chris and I added our lemon peel and mint sprig garnishes the drinks looked absolutely beautiful. And then we took our first sip. I immediatly made a sour face and Chris commented about the concoction’s strong taste. I tried a second sip, and gave up. I think I may have even likened the taste to “vomit.”

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