Ask most native Kentuckians how a julep is made and the first thing they will tell you is, “It can’t be made by a Yankee.” I believe this to be hogwash but I am not about to start another war of northern aggression over a cocktail.
The julep is a simple refreshing cocktail that is great for warm days, especially when you have time to sip and watch the ice melt. It’s a whole lot of crushed ice, simple syrup, fresh mint, and a stiff shot of whiskey. Being a yankee, I don’t care about specific southern ingredients like using Kentucky Colonel mint or Kentucky bourbon. In the upper midwest we use what we have on hand and what’s local to us.
I give you the Midwest Julep.
8 Mint leaves (Spearmint)
1 teaspoon honey (local wildflower honey)
2 teaspoons water (tap)
2 oz. rye whiskey (Journeyman Distillery: Last Feather Rye Whiskey
- Run out to the garden and pluck up two sprigs of spearmint.
- Wrap a whole tray of icecubes in a flower sack towel and crush the piss out of it.
- Muddle 8 fresh mint leaves in a jelly jar with a little crushed ice.
- Stir the honey and water into the muddled mint.
- Add the crushed ice to the glass
- Pour the rye over the ice
- Stir the drink until the glass is frosted.
- Garnish with a spring of mint.