The Mint Julep was a total mystery to me. The only ingredient I knew for sure….mint. And it’s not my favorite. Not a fan of mojitos either.
In light of my new appreciation for bourbon, I figure, why not give it a try. First, I would have to get my head around the word julep. It’s a negative word for me. I associate juleps with The Orange Julep my family went to in Montreal when I was a child. Everyone, except me, loved orange juice pulp and lots of it! All that pulp? Disgusting. Still is.
Now that I know the main ingredients of a Mint Julep, I can tackle where on earth to find these strange drinks.
Ways to Enjoy a Mint Julep
As a dessert.
In a pitcher on a patio. If you’re lucky to find a Punch House to make it or make your own at home. See below.
Definitely at The Moonroom on Preston Street in Ottawa. They served it up in the traditional copper cup which kept it frosty beyond finishing it. To my surprise, no pulp, and I loved it’s fresh, crisp taste! So much that I had a second one.
Many places on this strip are closed on a Monday but The Moonroom rocks it until 2 am. A small establishment with massive atmosphere and superb service. I’ll be going back.
No food menu here, it’s on the wall. Very cool and I didn’t need my glasses to read it!
How about at the Kentucky Derby? The Mint Julep is the state’s national drink. During the 2 day race, 120,000 juleps are sold at Churchill Downs.
The glasses became a souvenir glass in 1939 during the Kentucky Derby which began on May 17, 1875.
You can find out more at the Kentucky Derby Museum.
Pewter and copper mugs are making a comeback. HomeSense carries a nice variety.
The Fame of Kentucky
Not only is Kentucky home of bourbon, you’ll find many famous people related in some way or other to this state.
Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr, grandson of William Clark, leased the 80 acres used to hold The Kentucky Derby and named the track, Churchill Downs, for his uncles, John and Henry Churchill.
Perhaps not interesting to everyone, but it caught my attention since the story of Sacajewea, their Indian Guide, is my all time favorite book.
Things To Do In Louisville
Take a tour of the baseball bat factory at Louisville Slugger Museum.
Shop in the downtown district and if you’re there on the last Friday of the month, you can take advantage of the free trolley known as FAT Friday Trolley Hop. You’re shopping on the famous Frankfort Avenue overtime and you realize, oh no, our reservation for the distillery tour at Angel’s Envy starts in 10 minutes, hop on the trolley, do the tour then hop back on and finish the shopping!
Browse a four storey antique shop at 615 East Market Street. Joe Ley Antiques holds weird and wonderful oddities.
Zipline through the Underground Mines. Yes, zipline, see it to believe it!
After all this, you’ll be famished so head to the rooftop restaurant, 8UP, for dinner and a beautiful view of the city.
There is no shortage of cemeteries, if that’s your thing. Colonel Sanders and Harry Collin, of FritoLay fame are both buried at the Cave Hill Cemetery. And it you want REAL creepy, visit the abandoned Eastern Cemetery where bodies were buried upon bodies.
Not creepy enough, dare to explore Waverly Hills Sanatorium at 440 Paralee Lane, known to be the most haunted place in the world. You be the judge.
The Kentucky Derby has already passed, earlier this month but not all is lost. Plan your visit between September 11-17 this year to catch the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.
Since bourbon originates in Kentucky (more on this on Bourbon Day next month), choose from the many distilleries. If you’re downtown, visit Angel’s Envy. However, you do need a reservation. Keep in mind, they age their spirits in oak barrels, for those with a sensitivity or allergy.
Seeking The Stainless Barrel?
Sad news if you do enjoy bourbon, for it is not bourbon if it has not been aged in an oak barrel. So take a Benadryl to avoid your allergic reaction! Once bourbon is aged, though, it can be transferred to a stainless barrel for freshness.
News footage from 2015, name the ringleader in the theft of a stainless steel barrel full of bourbon. The story is not a 1920’s Prohibition story. It’s current! Wild Turkey Distillery and Buffalo Trace (both an hour from Louisville) suffered the loss (at the hands of it’s own employee!) so if you’re sympathetic, show your compassion and help them rebuild by visiting their distillery.
Or, pick up a bottle at your local liquor store, if you can’t be in Kentucky but would like to support their efforts to recover.
LCBO carries their brand:
Wild Turkey straight bourbon (aged once) is $32 per bottle. The Rare Breed is $60.
Buffalo Trace straight bourbon is $43 per bottle.
Also at LCBO is the new Jim Beam, Kentucky Straight Bourbon. I happened to pop in when they were offering tastings and wasn’t it delicious!
Out Of Fresh Mint?
If you’re like me and you don’t have a mint plant lazing about on your balcony, this makeshift Mint Julep isn’t too bad. An ounce and a half of bourbon, a dash of creme de menthe topped with Fresca and voila, a decent cocktail. The lime makes a difference too, so if you have one, squeeze in a quarter section and stir.
Make pitcher size by adjusting the amounts by, oh let’s say, a bottle of bourbon, 2 L of Fresca, a few limes and half a cup of mint liqueur. Just a guess. As I said, I would hold back on mint because I’m not a fan.
Bourbon is quickly becoming a new favorite. Until next time.
Happy Mint Julep Day!
Posted by Kim Ratcliffe-Doe on May 30, 2017