I like to drink. And I prefer cocktails over beer and wine. I know, thats not a good habit but I do make great effort to keep this vice under control. Over the last 10 years there has been a major paradigm shift from wine back to the great ole days of cocktails. No longer is the sommelier revered and worshipped. It’s the Mixologist that is causing all the “stir“.
But there is one huge secret weapon in the perfect cocktail :
As most of you know I grew up in the deep south. I was appalled when I attending a symposium that featured famed mixologist Alba Huerta from Houston Texas and found out that The South had created very few Cocktails over it’s long and thirsty history.
Alba In Action
Well I’ll be. All that Bourbon and Rye that we consumed while being masterfully educated at Ole Miss. Is that truly possible?
Well there is good reason for this perplexing thought. Ice. You see, back in the days of The Civil War, the Yankees were starving us Rebels out of everything…….even ice! No ice, the meat goes bad. No ice, the milk spoils. No Ice, No Cocktails! The only folks that had ice were those lucky folks in New Orleans cause they had a port. And the only folks that could afford the ice (not the Bourbon) were aristocracy(big word for rich folks).
And that’s where this lovely signature Southern concoction came from:
The Mint Julep
2 oz. bonded rye whiskey (Heugel and Huerta use Rittenhouse)
2 barspoons turbinado syrup (2:1, sugar to water)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
10-12 mint leaves
Tools: muddler, barspoon
Glass: Julep cup
Garnish: mint sprigs, powdered sugar, straw
In the base of a Julep cup, muddle the mint leaves with the rye, syrup and bitters. Fill the julep cup three-quarters of the way with crushed ice. Stir until cold. Fill with more crushed ice, forming a mound. Garnish with two pressed mint sprigs, dusted with powdered sugar. Place a straw in the cup right next to the mint to emphasize the aromatics.
Alba Huerta and Bobby Heugel, Julep, Houston
So the next time you start sipping on that 6:00 PM cocktail, remember just how lucky and blessed you really are to have Ice at your beckoning call. And there is nothing better than having pulled pork and Barbeyaki stuck in your teeth when you are enjoying your libation.
“An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.” -Ernest Hemingway”
Thanks to Alba Huerta and Bobby Huegal for these great pictures and their great drink in’ holes, “Anvil”, “The Pastry War”, and “Julep”
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