Still working my way through The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks and stumbled into Julep country. Mr Embury has an obvious passion for the Bourbon Slushy so I thought I’d try my hand.
Juleps come from a time when spirits were commonplace in drinks at any time a clock could show, and the Minted Julep offered a cool, refreshing respite while sitting on the porch, watching your workforce toil in the cotton fields. With the current Bourbon revival in full swing, this is a drink that is sure to making more of an appearance in the coming year.
Place your metal vessel in the freezer ahead of time, getting a good frost is key to the look and feel of a Julep and a frozen cup makes this much easier to achieve.
In a bar glass place three dashes of Angostura bitters*, 15mls of simple syrup and 12 fresh mint leaves. Give these a gentle muddle, to much vigor will taint the drink with a bitter aftertaste, so take your time and tease the oils out. And a generous measure (at least 60mls) of bourbon to this mixture and set it to one side.
Take your frozen vessel from the freezer and fill it with crushed ice. If you have a machine, use that, but beating cubes in a clean tea towel works too.
Pour in the minty bourbon, giving the ice a stir with up and down movements to ensure the correct slushy consistency and to accelerate the frosty exterior. Top the cup with more crushed ice so it’s full to the brim, or heaped like a Taiwanese snow cone. Add two short straws and a garnish of mint, the tips of the plant make the best looking garnishes. Exhale deeply and enjoy this truly superior drink.
*I’ve never come across another recipe that calls for angostura and I did think it a little odd from the outset, however, it delivers a Julep of unusual character, just as Embury promises.
P.S. I do believe this might just be the prettiest looking drink I’ve ever made.