MILWAUKEE- It’s a minty cocktail that’s synonymous with the Kentucky Derby. Yes, you know it as the mint julep.
But what do you really know about the history of this signature beverage besides it being incredibly refreshing and good for your breath?
When was it first created? Does the drink have medicinal purposes? Do Milwaukeeans dig it?
Co-founder and CEO of Central Standard Craft Distillery Evan Hughes breaks down some of those questions and says the minty drink dates back to 1770.
“Actually, when it came to be, it was used for medicinal purposes for frequent retching,” said Hughes.
That doesn’t sound particularly appetizing but apparently it worked.
Another fact that some of us might know is that the mint julep originated in the southern states and was first promoted at the Kentucky Derby was 1938.
Hughes says the julep is popular in Milwaukee around derby time.
“We sold a ton of mint juleps the week leading up to the derby and around the derby and then it really tapers off. But it is a super refreshing drink during hot weather and when our new distillery opens in July we expect to serve a lot of them.”
A classic mint julep is actually a simple drink to make yourself.
A Simple Mint Julep Recipe:
-2 oz. of Central Standard Craft Distillery Red Cabin Bourbon (or a Kentucky bourbon)
-1/2 oz. of simple syrup (you can also make your own mint simple syrup with equal parts water and sugar, bring to a boil to make sure the sugar is dissolved. Muddle a handful of mint leaves in the syrup. Drain mixture through a strainer to catch all the leaves and chill in refrigerator.)
-4-5 mint leaves, muddled in bottom of the glass
-Crushed ice (or shaved ice)
-Garnish with mint leaves
-Enjoy (and make another if you like)
To hear more about the mint julep, click on the audio player above.