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The great thing about mint juleps? Very little about them changes. Following are three items of interest to the mint julep set.

Hey, Mint Julep. Your One-Day-a-Year Is Here, at The Chuck Cowdery Blog (2016)

Many people misunderstand the mint julep. It is not a cocktail in the ordinary sense. It is more of a shooter. A mint julep should be made quickly, served immediately and consumed promptly, before the ice starts to melt and turn the drink watery.

The julep is at its peak of flavor the instant it is completed. Every moment that passes thereafter diminishes its quality. There should be just enough liquid in the glass for one or two good swallows.

Taken appropriately in a suitable context the mint julep is delightful. Its sensuality can be nearly overpowering.

A quick search indicates that Joe Nickell’s book is widely available on the internet, with used copies reasonably priced.

The Kentucky Mint Julep, by Joe Nickell (Better World Books)

A simple concoction — bourbon, mint, sugar, and water — the mint julep is legendary. Few people know its history and even fewer know how to properly mix this classic cocktail. Lighthearted, entertaining, and informative, The Kentucky Mint Julep explores the lore and legend of the Kentucky Derby’s traditional tipple. Joe Nickell looks at the origins of the julep, offers a brief history of American whiskey and Kentucky bourbon, and shares some classic julep tales. Information on julep cups, tips on garnishing and serving, and reminiscences from the likes of Charles Dickens, Washington Irving, and General John Hunt Morgan give a fun, historic look at Kentucky’s favorite drink. The book includes numerous recipes — for classic juleps, modern variations, non-alcoholic versions, and the author’s own thoroughly researched “perfect” mint julep. This delightful book is illustrated with historic photographs, a map of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and more.

This year’s Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep Charity Program honors bourbon’s “French Connection.” Here’s the press release.

Versailles, KY (April 11, 2022) – The Woodford Reserve $1,000 Mint Julep™ charity program, one of the Kentucky Derby’s most distinctive annual traditions, this year honors the connections between Kentucky and France.

A total of 148 cups, honoring Derby 148, will be available for purchase at woodfordreservemintjulep.com. Cups must be picked up at Churchill Downs on Derby Day at the $1,000 Mint Julep Experience.

Handmade by Louisville-based jeweler From the Vault, the cups feature red rubies in the shape of a horseshoe. One side of the cup is engraved with a thoroughbred, representing Versailles, Kentucky, where Woodford Reserve Distillery is located and where many of the world’s best thoroughbreds are bred and raised. The other side includes a nod to Versailles, France.

Of the 148 cups, 18 are gold and retailing for $2,500 and 130 Silver and retailing for $1,000.

Proceeds will benefit Old Friends Farm, where famous thoroughbreds, including past Derby winners, are sent to retire peacefully. The charity was started by Mike Blowen, a retired journalist from The Boston Globe.

This year’s $1,000 Mint Julep cocktail features ingredients found at France’s Palace of Versailles, once home to three of the country’s kings from the House of Bourbon: Kings Louis XIV to XVI. The cocktail brings together the flavors of orange, lemon and pomegranate with Woodford Reserve Bourbon.

“The French connections to Kentucky are significant – from Versailles, the home of our distillery – to Louisville, KY, the city where the Derby is run and which was named after King Louis XVI,” said Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris. “Cheers – or as the French would say “Sante” – to Derby 148.”

The French Mint Julep

  • 2 oz. Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • 2 tsp. honey syrup (½ part Honey from Versailles, France and ½ part water)
  • 1 lemon peel
  • 1 orange peel
  • 2 fresh pomegranate arils, plus more for garnish
  • 1 bunch fresh lemon Mint sprigs, garnish

Directions: In the Julep cup, add honey syrup, 1 peel each of the lemon and orange, 2 pomegranate arils, and muddle. Then fill the cup ⅔ of the way with crushed ice. Add Woodford Reserve and top the cup off with  more crushed ice. Garnish by tucking in a fresh bunch of lemon mint, lemon and orange peels on the side. Top with fresh pomegranate arils and serve.

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