This is for Seaworthy
Lass, who I will bet dollars to doughnuts has never had one of these.
In fact very few people out of this drink's geographical origin have ever actually tried one. That is because it is not really amenable to being made in bars -- too labor intensive -- and besides that, you simply cannot make it by measuring out the spirits in niggardly jiggers.
So here it is:
The main thing is you need generous quantities of fresh mint leaves, and plenty of ice.
Take a large double handful of fresh mint leaves, and if you know where they came from, don't wash them. Or if not, wash them, towel them off very, very gently, then let them air dry. They must not be wet.
Take a bowl of sugar -- note that there are no measures here -- typical of Southern cooking
. A decent size cooking
bowl, with a few inches of white cane sugar in the bottom. Pile in the fresh mint leaves, and using your fingers, crush the leaves and grind them up using the sugar as an abrasive. This process is called "muddling". The proportion is right when you get a thick green paste with fragments of mint leaves and stems in it. You must not add any water
-- the sap and oils from the crushed mint leaves forms all of the liquid needed to dissolve the sugar, when you have the proportions right. This green goop is amazingly aromatic.
OK, now take some ice. Wrap it up in a kitchen towel and bludgeon the s***t out of it with a hammer or other blunt instrument. Do not be tempted use a blender, crusher, or any other mechanical means -- it is essential that the ice particles NOT be of regular size. Some of the ice should be almost powdered; some of it should be in larger chunks.
Fill a tumbler completely full with the crushed ice. Ideally, the tumbler should be pewter or sterling, but that's not essential. Take a generous heaping tablespoon full of the green goop you made in the first step, and glop it onto the ice. Then take some whiskey -- Bourbon or sour mash or rye or moonshine, but best of all Kentucky bourbon -- need not be expensive -- and pour it in slowly until the tumbler is completely full.
Serve and enjoy!
This drink is particularly good in hot weather
, as it's cold and refreshing. It is also very, very strong - the bourbon is undiluted by anything except the ice -- so your guests will get wasted very fast.
The drink was invented as a way to mask the awful taste of the rotgut spirits used on the frontier in the 18th century, at least, that's what my great-grandmother told me. It is a traditional summer libation in the Deep South of the U.S.
It used to be -- maybe it still goes on -- that Mississippi
expatriates in New York
City would gather once a year in the summer for a picnic in Central Park. I attended a few of these in the '70's and '80's. These were jolly affairs, with a large proportion of New York's literary and publishing world attending (the "Mississippi Mafia" of the literature world in those days), and a multitude of other white and black people living in New York
but homesick for Mississippi
. The Governor of Mississippi, William Winters, flew up one year in a private plane with a bale of fresh mint leaves, to make vats of mint juleps.