Inspired By: The Great Gatsby

Posted by Courtney |


I've decided that each Tuesday, I am going to write a post about being inspired to cook, eat or drink something by a book, movie or music. First up? The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Why? The thirst-quenching and heat-slaughtering mint julep.

There is a scene in the Great Gatsby that takes place in a suite at the Plaza Hotel in New York, in the middle of a hot summer. There is only one window and the descriptions laid out in this chapter about the heat and how it is affecting the characters are phenomenal. No matter where you are, or what you're doing, this chapter will make you feel the need for relief from intense heat. When Daisy starts yammering about mint juleps, whether you've heard of one or not, you know it's going to be refreshing. And boy, are they.

The mint julep is a smash drink very similar to the mojito. It is made with bourbon, water, sugar, mint and ice. After muddling the sugar, mint and water at the bottom of the glass, add ice, bourbon, and more ice. A mint sprig is, understandably, used as a garnish and the drink is traditionally served with a straw.

From Wikipedia:
Traditionally, mint juleps were often served in silver or pewter cups, and held only by the bottom and top edges of the cup. This allows frost to form on the outside of the cup. Traditional hand placement may have arisen as a way to reduce the heat transferred from the hand to the silver or pewter cup. Today, mint juleps are most commonly served in a tall old-fashioned glass, Collins glass, or highball glass with a straw.
Having lived in Caribbean Mexico, and enjoyed my fair share of the very similar mojitos, I can tell you that the frost on the outside of the glass is 90% of the experience on a hot day. For that reason, I would try serving them in silver or pewter just to see the frosty exterior.

It is considered a southern drink and in Kentucky, spearmint is often used and the drink called a Kentucky Colonel. A Kremlin Colonel is made with vodka.

Today, the Mint Julep is the drink of choice at the Kentucky Derby.

More info on the Mint Julep:

- Wikipedia
- Epicurious
- A simple recipe
- Making a Mint Julep [video]

And go get yourself a copy of the Great Gatsby:

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