A 1000-year-old Persian recipe for a medicinal Rose Water tonic called “Juleb’ or ‘Guleb” is the basis for the modern cocktail, the Mint Julep.
The Mint Julep dates back to the 1800’s and is a pretty simple cocktail, Kentucky Bourbon, sugar and mint leaves served on the rocks in the historic Julep Cup.
Although the Mint Julep that we know dates back to the 1800’s the origins of the ‘Julep’ dates back over 1000 years. A sweetened medicinal rosewater from the ancient Persian was called ‘Gulab’ with the Latin translation being ‘Julapium’. In the 1600’s, it was John Milton, author of ‘Paradise Lost’ that first used the word ‘Juleps’, describing it as a “spirits of balm and fragrant syrups”.
The Sterling Silver Julep cup, pricing upwards of $850 has a great history. Designed with an extended rim along the top and bottom of the cup, the purpose of the rims is for the drinker to hold the cup in these locations so as to allow the crushed ice inside to create a nice frost on the outside.
Luckily there are glass and pewter varieties of the cup available for those of us not willing or able to spend $850 for a single glass.
At this year’s Kentucky Derby, Woodford Reserve is selling their Mint Juleps in a commemorative glass, a single drink cost you a reasonable $2000.00. Good news is you get to keep the cup, next rounds on you, ok?
Because I like the historic aspect of the Julep, I make mine with a simple syrup flooded with rose petals from my garden, here’s how I make my Mint Juleps:
- 6 Roses, fragrant, any color will work, organic is best
- 1 Cup Water
-Pluck all the petals from the roses and rinse well
-Bring water to a boil, remove from the heat
-Add rose petals to the hot water and let steep as if making tea. Let steep for 20-30 minutes until the color has faded from the petals
Rosewater Simple Syrup
- 1 Cup Rosewater
- 1 Cup Sugar
-Combine sugar with warm rose water, stir to dissolve
- 2 Ounces Bourbon
- 1 Ounce Rosewater Simple Syrup
- 8 Mint Leaves
- 8 Rose Petals
-Add the mint leaves, rose petals and Rosewater simple syrup to a Julep Cup or highball glass, lightly muddle
-Add Bourbon, stir to combine
-Top of the glass with crushed ice
-Garnish with mint sprigs