Thursday, November 3, 2011

whirlpool julep

1 jigger Rye (1 1/2 oz Rittenhouse 100)
2 dash Bacardi (1/4 oz JM Rhum Gold)
2 dash Bénédictine (1/4 oz)
1 tsp Anisette (1/6 oz Arak Razzouk)
5 sprig Mint

Lightly muddle the mint at the bottom of a Julep cup, add rest of ingredients and crushed ice, and stir until the cup is frosted. I garnished with additional mint sprigs and added a straw.

Last Friday, as I was flipping through our copy of Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, I spotted a Julep recipe that we had not tried before. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to get in another mint drink in case the impending snow storm killed off our mint patch and turned it into Tom & Jerry season. The fact that the Julep was rye based reminded me of a line I read in Richard Harwell's Mint Julep book; there he quoted a Kentucky humorist, Irvin S. Cobb, who said, "Any guy who'd put rye in a mint julep and crush the leaves would put scorpions in a baby's bed." Well, I am a Northerner and rye seemed like a legitimate spirit to use here; moreover, I was curious as to how the Bénédictine and anisette flavors would play with the mint's.
While a mint garnish was not specified in the recipe (only muddled mint), it did add a wonderfully robust aromatic component. The sip presented the malt and barrel notes of the whiskey, and the swallow contained a lot of herbal flavors from the anisette that was complemented by the Bénédictine and mint. Since there was not very much sugar in the drink to soften the spirit's heat (and less than intended since I used a dry arak instead of an sweet anise liqueur), a less aggressive rye than 100 proof Rittenhouse would have aided this drink.

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