F. Scott Fitzgerald helped to popularize the Mint Juelp – a bourbon and mint cocktail – in The Great Gatsby. Tom, Daisy, Gatsby, Nick and Jordan cool off with a Mint Julep at New York’s Plaza Hotel on a hot day.
In the The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook, we included the recipe for Jane Sterling’s Mint Julep (season 3, episode 3 “My Old Kentucky Home”). As we wrote:
“Roger Sterling’s hedonism and lack of self-awareness are in full flower at the Kentucky Derby–themed garden party he and his new young wife Jane throw at an elegant Long Island country club. Guests mingle under the party tent and sip mint juleps in silver cups, Southern-style. Made up in blackface, and backed by a jazz band clad in straw boaters and Roaring Twenties–style red-and-white striped jackets, he sings ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ to Jane, the overt racism clearly lost on him and over Jane’s head. Later, Don and Betty Draper have to help Jane to her seat; she’s clearly had a few too many mint juleps.
“This classic Southern cocktail evokes the gentility of the South and hot, humid summer days passed on the porch of an elegant plantation-style home. For Betty, mint juleps were also the perfect refreshment to serve to the adults who accompany their children to Sally’s sixth birthday party (season 1, episode 3; “Marriage of Figaro”).
“The origins of the mint julep aren’t known, though legend has it that a Kentuckian boating on the Mississippi River stopped along the banks one day to pick fresh mint, which he then added to his bourbon and water mixture. An integral part of Kentucky culture, the mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.
“This contemporary julep courtesy of the ‘21’ Club in Manhattan that features a delicious mint-infused simple syrup.”
This refreshing, classic Mint Julep recipe from The Unofficial Mad Men Cookbook is courtesy of The ‘21’ Club in New York, New York and perfect for Gatsby gatherings.
- Fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce Mint Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
- 2 ounces bourbon
- *Mint Simple Syrup *
- Bunch of fresh mint leaves
- About 2 cups sugar
- Boiling water
- To make the drink: In a Collins glass, muddle mint leaves in fresh lemon juice and Mint Simple Syrup.
- Fill glass with crushed ice and add bourbon. Stir. Garnish with a bruised mint leaf.
- To make the Mint Simple Syrup:Crush a goodly bunch of mint leaves in a quart container. Fill to halfway mark with sugar, then fill with boiling water. Stir well to dissolve sugar.
- Let mint steep while syrup cools. Strain. Let the syrup cool to room temperature and spoon it into a jar. Seal tight and store in refrigerator for up to three weeks.