Anyone who says they don’t like mint juleps obviously had their first one at the track. Anyone who says they do like mint juleps and tells you that they had their first one at the track is not to be trusted. The Official Mint Julep of the Kentucky Derby is a vile thing made with Early Times and insufficiently muddled mint. It is a sad thing, and I don’t want you to ever experience it. Mint juleps are a thing of great beauty, and now, with a little bit of help from Walker Percy, I’m going to tell you how to make a good one.
Here’s what you need to get started:
If you don’t have a julep cup (because, presumably, you’re from north of Virginia or something), you can use a hearty, small vessel of another kind.
Fill up your vessel with crushed ice and let that sit for a few minutes. Discard the ice, then add about a tablespoon of granulated sugar to the glass. Top with a ton of mint. Maybe 18-20 leaves. As I’ve said before, the trick is a vast, dizzying amount of mint. Muddle very, very well with a muddler if you’ve got one or a spoon if you don’t.
Fill the vessel up with crushed ice, but keep it in there this time (you’re basically making a booze sno-cone, so the finer the crush, the better).
Dump in 2 ounces of bourbon—you want a nice-but-not-hideously expensive label. Garnish with mint leaves and consume greedily and instantaneously.