Thanks to the spring rains, mint is coming along well in the back yard, a reminder that it’s time to lay in supplies for Derby Day. (Or rather for you to lay in supplies, because I will be producing night content at the paragraph factory that day two weeks hence.) To assist you, I once again offer advice about making mint juleps.
First, make sure you have some decent bourbon. The cheap stuff is too raw, and you probably don’t want to use your $60 Booker’s for this. Maker’s Mark should answer, or Woodford Reserve if you’re feeling flush. On no account use any of that ersatz bourbon from Tennessee.
Traditionalists to the manner born use silver cups. Among us plebs, a good squat glass with a solid bottom will do nicely.
Harvest your mint, rinse it, and pat it dry with paper towels. Put about a teaspoon of sugar in a glass and mix it with just enough water to dissolve it. Then add a few mint leaves and muddle them thoroughly. If your equipment lacks a muddler, the handle of a crab mallet will do the job.
The ice is important. It should be cracked ice. Crushed ice will melt too quickly and produce a weak and watery julep. Ice cubes will not produce the correct balance. Take some ice cubes, put them in a plastic bag and wrap it in a kitchen towel, and whale away at it with a rolling pin.
Fill the glass with cracked ice and pour bourbon over it until the ice is covered. Garnish with a mint leaf. Sip. Reflect that life is good and give thanks to the Baptist clergy for their two great achievements: the separation of church and state, and bourbon whiskey.
One last thing: When the band plays “My Old Kentucky Home,” shut your mouth and stand respectfully.
Then you can do as you like.