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Archive for April, 2009

Mint Julep – The Other Side of the Coin

Posted by Reese On April - 30 - 2009

On Tuesday I showed you an example of how wonderful the creation of a Mint Julep can be.  Like most things in life where there is light there is also darkness.  Today I’d like to expose you to the Julep form of that darkness.  We all have Jeffrey Morgenthaler to thank for unearthing this YouTube gem.

There are so many things wrong with this recipe it’s hard to even know where to begin.  Instead I’ll give you some pointers.  One, if you or a loved one is mixing a Mint Julep and you reach for a) limes, b) Rose’s lime or c) sour mix you’ve had enough cocktails, time for some nice soothing water.  If you’ve somehow gotten to the point where these have been combined with mint and you then decide to add some reasonably decent  bourbon to the mix you’ve gone way too far.  Step back, breathe deeply and go looking for that aforementioned glass of water.

Water, sugar, mint, bourbon, ice.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  Sorry I had to expose you all to this but I felt it only right that you see both sides of the cocktail coin.

Chris McMillian on the Mint Julep

Posted by Reese On April - 28 - 2009

NOLA.com put together a series of videos highlighting New Orleans’ best cocktails. Many of them feature Chris McMillian from the Library Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans. This recording of Chris making a Mint Julep and reciting a beautiful piece of prose is one of my absolute favorite cocktail videos. Enjoy.

If you’d like to read the poem a fellow cocktail blogger contacted Chris and got a copy, you can read it here.  Thanks for sharing Shank!

The Mint Julep

Posted by Reese On April - 26 - 2009

Not being from anywhere near the South I find it easy to say that by my way of thinking there is nothing so quintessentially Southern than the Mint Julep.  Now certainly that’s a stereotype and likely a bad one.  But let’s take a moment for a thought experiment.  Think about the words “Mint Julep”…what’s the first thing that pops in to your head?  Is it a grand porch on a colonial home, the light is low and crickets are chirping?  See!  Southern!  Well, no matter what popped in to your head you have to agree that the Mint Julep truly is a classic.

Pat Day and Aristides

For a large portion of Julep drinkers the only time during the year that they’ll be consuming one of these cocktails is on Kentucky Derby day.  Being a man of at least some forethought I decided that this week would be perfect to highlight the Mint Julep as the 2009 Kentucky Derby will be run this coming Saturday, May 2nd.  I’ll spend this week covering at least the basics of the Mint Julep so you’ll be well prepared to mix some up on Derby day for yourself.

The recipe from the Joy of Mixology isn’t the most classic recipe that you’ll find as it uses mint infused simple syrup, but I think it’s still a great place to get started.

Mint Julep (Joy of Mixology)
Finely Crushed Ice
3 oz Bourbon
1 or 2 oz Simple Syrup or Minted Simple Syrup
5 or 6 Stems of Fresh Mint
1) Fill a Julep cup or Collins glass 2/3 full with crushed ice
2) Add the bourbon and syrup
3) Stir for 10 - 20 seconds
4) Add more ice
5) Stir again until a layer of ice forms on the glass
6) Add more ice until glass is completely full
7) Garnish with mint sprigs
8) Add straws slightly taller than the glass
9) Serve with a cocktail napkin or coaster
Minted Simple Syrup (Joy of Mixology)
1 cup Water
1 cup Sugar
1 bunch Fresh Mint
1) Combine ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat
2) Bring the mixture to a simmer
3) Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes
4) Remove pan from heat and allow to cool
5) Remove mint before storing

Paloma – Que Buena

Posted by Reese On April - 25 - 2009

Looking back on my Margarita post from 7 months ago I started that adventure with a slight bit of tequila aprehension.  By the end of that week I was a convert.  This relatively newly found love has carried over to this week.  The Paloma, despite its simplicity, was tremendously delicious.  I tried two recipes, one leveraging grapefruit soda (Squirt in my case), the other utilizing all fresh juices.

Paloma

Paloma (Grapefruit Soda Recipe)
2 oz Tequila
1/2 oz Lime Juice
6 oz Grapefruit Soda
1) Build in a Collins glass with ice

This recipe is certainly the simpler of the two which is both good and bad, more on that in a bit.  Like the Tom Collins, the Paloma is tremendously refreshing and would be absolutely fantastic on a hot summer day.  The lime juice pumps up the sourness a bit which plays well with the sweetness of the soda.  The tequila comes through nicely as well.  I tried both reposado and blanco tequilas and found that they both work very well in this application.  Next up I tried the more “all natural” recipe.

Paloma (All Fruit Juice)
2 oz Tequila
1/2 oz Lime Juice
3 oz Grapefruit Juice
1/4 oz Agave Syrup
Top with Soda Water (~3 oz)
1) Build in a Collins glass with ice

This version is more grapefruity than the soda based version and the sweetness can be more readily controlled depending on the amount of agave syrup you use.  In my case I used pink grapefruit juice and as such 1/4 oz of agave syrup was plenty.  Were I mixing this with white grapefruit I think a touch more agave syrup (1/2 oz) may be need to balance this drink.  This version is very good and very fresh tasting.  However, that said I don’t think it’s as authentic as the soda version.

I would be happy drinking either version as they’re both very very good.  I think I’ll likely end up drinking the soda based version more often, however, due to it’s simplicity.  Why, you ask, do you consider this simplicity a bad thing?  One word.  Drinkability.  This is a drink that can be easily produced even when you’re 3-4 drinks in, which could lead to bad things.  That’s not going to stop me for even a moment though and I suggest that you don’t let it stop you either.

Tequila por Mi Amante

Posted by Reese On April - 22 - 2009

While traversing the interwebs looking for recipes for this week’s cocktail, the Paloma, I came across this bit of deliciousness.  Paul has taken strawberry infused tequila (Tequila por Mi Amante) and made what sounds like the best Paloma ever conceived by human kind.  The recipe for this wonderful infusion comes from Charles Baker’s Gentleman’s Companion (also via Paul Clarke).  After reading Paul’s post and looking at the pictures I desperately wanted, nay needed, to make some for myself.  So, being a man of some means, I did just that.

Tequila por Mi Amante

I combined about 600 ml (total WAG) of Hornitos Reposado (what I had handy) with about 3 cups of sliced strawberries and stashed it in the fridge.  The infusion will need to steep for about three weeks so sadly I won’t be able to enjoy a Paloma with the elixir until then.  Stay tuned for the no doubt wonderful results.