The Mint Julep is one of only two famous cocktails mentioned by name in The Great Gatsby. It’s brought up twice as a way to cool off in the sweltering, pre-air-conditioning New York summer. Just saying the word julep sounds refreshing, like a drop of water dripping into a pool.
Where does it make an appearance in the book? The drink is mentioned by Daisy:
“The notion originated with Daisy’s suggestion that we hire five bathrooms and take cold baths, and then assumed more tangible form as ‘a place to have a mint julep’.” p. 98
on the next page, when the heat is getting to everyone and Tom begins to attack Gatsby, Daisy brings up the juleps again (presumably to cool their tempers?):
“‘Now see here Tom'”, said Daisy, turning around from the mirror, “If you’re going to make personal remarks I won’t stay here a minute. Call up and order some ice for the mint julep.” p. 99
The Mint Julep is a Southern born cocktail, and like any good Southerner, it has a storied past. It’s origins, ingredients, measurement, even how much mint to use, are all subjects that could start a duel south of the Mason Dixon line.
Some, like this author’s mother, believe the recipe should always be made with equal parts simple syrup & bourbon, and that two full shot glasses of each must go into each julep!
We present you our recipe as inspiration to perfect your own.
2 oz Kentucky Bourbon – We like Jefferson’s very small batch – great quality & price point
6-9 mint leaves + sprig to garnish
1 oz simple syrup
Muddle the leaves in your chilled rocks glass.
Add in your simple syrup and muddle and swirl around the sides glass with your spoon to coat the glass.
Add crushed ice to your glass
Stir around the outside of the glass (a technique we will describe on video soon for you!) until it frosts.
Garnish with your mint sprig and put a short straw right next to the sprig so the drinker takes in the aroma before even having their first sip.