We love whiskey, whatever side of whichever pond it happens to be from. If you’ve read any of our other blogs, you’ll probably be able to attest to that. We were asked recently what our favourite whiskey drink was and whilst we couldn’t choose definitively, this secy little Julep number is definitely top five.
The Julep is a drink with loads of history, so we aren’t going to give you the full story but it’s safe to say this drink is older than you and it’s travelled from the middle-east to America on its way to your face.
Our preferred version includes a bit of peach liqueur and whilst this isn’t strictly classic, it is delicious so we feel vindicated in our preference. You can choose to omit this for an extra touch of sugar or swap it out for the liqueur of your choice. If you’re going out on your own however, we would suggest avoiding anything too heavy or pungent; a big slug of Sambuca for example will really upset the balance here.
A Julep is traditionally served in a Julep tin and sipped through a Julep strainer. Neither of these are necessary but both of them help to enhance the experience a little bit, making it more authentic.
A Julep tin is a handle-less, metal drinking vessel which you’ll be able to pick up online for about a tenner and the strainer resembles a large-bowled, short handled spoon with holes in it. The idea was that the strainer was placed over the top of the tin and kept bits of mint and shaved ice out of your mouth.
A glass and a straw will work just as well, but lacks a bit of the theatre that makes this drink so special.
So, to make yourself a Georgia Mint Julep, you’ll need to combine the following into your glass or tin:
- 50ml of Bourbon, Rye or something else we’ll mention later. We’ll have a little chat about what we’re enjoying at the moment down below.
- 10ml of crème de peche. Our preferred brand is Briottet who make amazing liqueurs, otherwise chuck in your liqueur of choice in its place.
- 20ml 1:1 Sugar syrup – once again, simply stir down caster sugar with cold water. Whilst this recipe appears really sweet, the punchiness of the whisky will help to balance out the sugar.
- 20ml cold water – This will help to make sure you have ample dilutoin. There isn’t much else in here besides booze so you’re going to need it. Tap water is more than adequate.
- 6-8 mint leaves – your choice of pepper or spearmint here, make sure you give the leaves a big slap between your hands before they go in as it will release the oils and aromatics.
Once you’ve got all of this in place, fill your tin with crushed ice. If you don’t have crushed ice to hand, chuck some cubes in a tea-towel and work out your frustrations on it with a rolling pin.
Using a long spoon, churn the mixture whilst holding a napkin over the top to avoid losing half your drink. Be sure to pull the mint leaves through the mixture, you wont get much out of them if they are all sitting at the bottom.
Cap the drink with more ice and enjoy through your straw or strainer, preferably in good company and since the Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky derby, it goes particularly well with horse racing.
Before we sign off, a word on some great whiskies you can use . We’re really enjoying the stuff coming out of Heaven Hill at the moment. They’re the largest family-owned spirits company in America which is reassuring in the day and age of faceless multinationals.
The best thing about the Heaven Hill range is exactly that. Range. Whiskey is a drink of grains and without the rigorous rules governing Malt Scotch production; which dictates Barley be used at almost every opportunity, there’s a great chance here to see what a single type of grain can bring to a drink.
Our first choice is Mellow Corn. At 50% it’s got ample strength but it’s tempered by the nature of its grain. Corn itself is soft and buttery, think corn-bread, on the cob and green-giant. This whiskey is so good for this drink because it supports the flavours of the peach and mint so well, filling in the gaps but giving them room to shine through.
Our next choice is an old bartender favourite, Rittenhouse Rye. Like corn, rye grains have very specific properties. Packed full of complex spice notes, it’s got a powerful, dark brooding character and has its roots in the oldest styles of American whiskies. If you’re looking for a complex Julep with more depth than the Mariana trench look no farther. Go for the bottled in bond 100 proof and you can do no wrong.
Finally, if you can’t decide which way you want to go with your whiskey choice, you could do a lot worse than Evan Williams Bottled in Bond. You’re going to get a fantastically well balanced mix of grains here which will give you the best of both worlds. Once again you’re getting a 50% spirit here which means loads of flavour, poise and structure.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this recipe and yet another ramble about whiskey. We’d love to see your efforts when it comes to making a Julep, you can share them with us @copperpotbar across social media.
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Loads of love,
Photo credit: Patrick Fore