Saturday Drink hosted its 2nd Annual Run for the Roses Derby Party.  There were fabulous hats galore, lots of bow ties, even a little seersucker, and best of all much bourbon.  There was a list of Derby-appropriate drinks to chose from, but it seemed only right to start off with a Mint Julep—it’s as much a part of the Derby as the hats and the horses.   A little mint, a little sweet, a lot of bourbon.  Delicious!

I had to show off my hat and Mint Julep

The first mention of the julep in print was in 1803; it was described as a “dram of spirituous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians in the morning.”  The origins of this drink can be traced to the Arabic world and a drink called a julab, made with water and rose petals.  As the drink moved around the globe, the rose petals were replaced by mint, a spirit was added and the Mint Julep was born.

I found this description of the Mint Julep by Joshua Soule Smith (1890s) and thought these poetic words about this venerable drink say it better than I ever could:

Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure. Then comes the julep—the mint julep. Who has not tasted one has lived in vain. The honey of Hymettus brought no such solace to the soul; the nectar of the Gods is tame beside it. It is the very dream of drinks, the vision of sweet quaffings. The Bourbon and the mint are lovers. In the same land they live, on the same food they are fostered. The mint dips its infant leaf into the same stream that makes the bourbon what it is. The corn grows in the level land through which small streams meander. By the brook-side the mint grows. As the little wavelets pass, they glide up to kiss the feet of the growing mint, the mint bends to salute them. Gracious and kind it is, living only for the sake of others.

Derek Brown’s recent piece in the Atlantic gives you a bit more about the Julep: The Mint Julep: ‘The Very Dream of Drinks’

Donning my fabulous hat, I sipped my Mint Julep and cheered on the horses.  Congratulations, Super Saver!