Freshly Minted

New Orleans is geographically Southern, sure, but that’s about it. Our cuisine isn’t strictly Southern. Our accents definitely aren’t Southern. But just like everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Southern on Derby Day, and there’s no drink more Southern or more synonymous with the Kentucky Derby than the mint julep.

The more than 80,000 mint juleps served at the Kentucky Derby every year are made with ready-to-serve mix, which many julep purists deride as being too “mouthwashy.” And even if julep fans all agree that the mix is an abomination, there is still debate amongst them as to whether the mint leaves should be muddled, barely bruised or used simply as a garnish. I’ve even heard that the best recipe for a mint julep is: “Assemble mint, sugar, bourbon and ice. Throw the mint, sugar and ice away. Drink the bourbon neat.”

The mint julep might not be everyone’s favorite drink, but it’s worth a try during the month of the Kentucky Derby. No matter what, it’s certainly more palatable than green beer! 

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