Post by Alison Hein.
The origin of Mint Juleps is clouded with the mist of the past. We know that the drink emanated from the southern United States most likely sometime in the 18th century. The word “julep” itself is quite unusual, and is thought to have been derived from the Persian word “golâb”, meaning rose water. Made by diffusing rose petals in water, rose water has historically been used for flavoring food, scenting perfumes, supporting religious rites, and enhancing medicinal concoctions.
A traditional Mint Julep is made with just four ingredients: fresh mint, sugar, bourbon and water. What began as a medical tonic to aid with “sickness at the stomach” has since morphed into a southern tradition and the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. Approximately 120,000 Mint Juleps are sold during the race each year. The frosty thirst-quenching drinks are a surefire winner.
There are as many recipes for Mint Juleps as there are drinks sold at the Derby. Some make a mint-infused simple syrup while others prefer to muddle the fresh sprigs; some use blender-crushed ice and others like large, crystal cubes; and some add the traditional bourbon, though others favor whiskey, gin, or rum. Mine is a virgin version (unless we’re having a weekend champagne brunch) which calls for fresh mango purée to be added to the mix. A very refreshing option for a sticky summer morning.
Island mango and aromatic mint go together in every way – sweet counters spunky, herbal offsets fruity. Even the colors work! Rosy golden mango blush blurs and swirls with deep forest green for a winner of a breakfast in bed and a cure for what ails ya.
3 sprigs fresh mint, plus additional for garnish
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup mango purée
½ cup crushed ice
½ cup sparkling water, ginger ale, or champagne
Clean mint and trim leaves from stem. Add to a tall glass. Add sugar, and muddle together until the sugar and mint take on a pasty texture. Add mango puree and stir. Fill the glass with crushed ice, then finish with sparkling water, ginger ale, or champagne, Add a tall spoon and straw to the glass. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve icy chilled.
Makes 1 drink
Note: You can purchase mango purée, or make your own by peeling, chopping, and puréeing a fresh mango in a blender until thick and smooth. To make a traditional Mint Julep, replace the mango purée with bourbon, then add the crushed ice and fill the glass with water.