Monday, September 2, 2013

Worth the Consideration of Those to Whom it May Prove Worth Considering

Today is Derby Day at Reasonable Industries. This Labor Day neatly closes my first year as a 'laborer', so in the proud American tradition I've scraped together one mop-handle calloused handful of cash with the intention of investing it at the horse track, rather than blowing it on something stupid like health insurance or vegetables. In prep for the all you can eat Prime Rib Buffet, I've seasoned my innards with the classic horse racing cocktail The Mint Julep.

The Mint Julep is by all rights a pretty shitty drink. Depending on which 'classic', 'proper', or 'traditional' recipe you follow you'll end up with a drink that is somewhere between VERY SWEET and MASSIVELY SWEET. A sugary slush for the infantile palate of pablum-seeking sweet tea drinkers. That doesn't bother me too much, as we all need some pablum to help spoon us along through the everyday horrors of everyday existence. There are lots of shitty, sweet cocktails out there and none of them do me much harm. I guess the Mint Julep gets my sap up a bit because of the legion of Southern-for-A-Day experts who slather the drink with false nostalgia, beating on endlessly about how  the Julep is a indispensable Southern Institution. The Julep may in fact BE a Southern Institution. Just like Lynch Mobs, Humidity, and Losing Your Foot To Diabetes.

The Julep (or some form of it) is reputed to be one of the oldest cocktails in existence, put in print for the first time in 1803 according to wikipedia. Well, despite what Portland bartenders would have you believe, it's not the 1880's anymore. Time and Science have propelled us pretty far since then. People in the 1800's didn't even have pagers. Why would I take their advice on a drink? 

The Mint Julep is also somewhat unique in that it is NEVER at the right dilution. Prior to the ice melting, each sip yields a meager trickle of sugar thickened bourbon along with a mouthful of ice chips. This stage goes on for approximately 3 hours. Seemingly between hours 3 and 3.15 hours, all of the ice melts simultaneously and you now get to pound some mint flavored water because all the bourbon was sipped out in the first 3 hours. The Julep is touted as a drink designed to last you the whole race day (with some recipes calling for a Senator-worthy 8 oz of bourbon). This is highly Southern to me, because I think of Southerners as lazy idiots, and only a lazy idiot would make one drink that is bad 80% of the time instead of 4 drinks that are perfect 100% of the time.

Anyway, I still made one and it still tastes fine regardless of how much bile the topic of 'The South' excites from my spleen.

"Pregnant At The Waffle House"

3oz Bourbon or whatever whiskey you find if you aren't a fascist
1 tbsp superfine caster sugar
10 mint leaves (spearmint ideally)
Most of the Ice From Your Freezer
Grab your tablespoon measure and stare at it, trying to imagine how this isn't way too much sugar. Add to glass along with mint leaves, and muddle a bit with 1/2 oz spirit or hot water to melt the sugar. Add 2 oz spirit. Fill one of the good dish towels with ice, then smash it against a tree stump until it is finely cracked or until you feel too guilty about using one of the good dish towels. Pack the glass with ice and pour over whatever amount of whiskey you want because you just put like 10 oz of ice in the drink so who fucking cares how much alcohol is in it. I used an applewood smoke infused blended scotch, the muddle mint was spearmint, and the garnish is mojito mint.
This drink lasted me the entirety of a documentary about a man and his pet elephant.

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