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mint julep


photo by dthoskins

The following is an excerpt from a letter by Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. to Major General William D. Connor, dated March 30, 1937.  This letter clearly demonstrates the esteem in which a “Mint Julep” is held.

“My Dear General Connor:

Your letter requesting my formula for mixing mint juleps leaves me in the same position in which Captain Barber found himself when asked how he was able to carve the image of an elephant from a block of wood. He said that it was a simple process consisting merely of whittling off the part that didn’t look like an elephant.

The preparation of the quintessence of gentlemanly beverages can be described only in like terms. A mint julep is not a product of a formula. It is a ceremony and must be performed by a gentleman possessing a true sense of the artistic, a deep reverence for the ingredients and a proper appreciation of the occasion. It is a rite that must not be entrusted to a novice, a statistician nor a Yankee. It is a heritage of the Old South, and emblem of hospitality, and a vehicle in which noble minds can travel together upon the flower-strewn paths of a happy and congenial thought.”

Making the perfect mint julep is quintessential for derby day.  After all, it is the derby’s official drink.  Follow these easy steps to the perfect mint julep.

What you’ll need:

4 fresh mint sprigs
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp water
Step by Step:
Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass or julep cup. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.

Yum!  Let the race begin!


  • It should be noted that Lt. General Buckner was not only a brilliant mixologist: he was also the son of Kentucky Governor (and presidential candidate) Simon Bolivar Buckner Senior and the highest-ranking US casualty in the second World War. His father was the driving force behind Kentucky’s attempted neutrality in the Civil War. Fascinating family!

    May 3, 2011
    • Wow, Andrew! Very interesting indeed.

      May 3, 2011
  • […] Making a Perfect Mint Julep […]

    May 3, 2012

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