CHRIS MCMILLIAN’S MINT JULEP
At the Bar on Common in New Orleans’ Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel, bartender Chris McMillian reigns supreme.
His thoughts on the mint julep? “Who has not tasted one has lived in vain,” he says. “It is the very dream of drinks, the vision of sweet quaffings.”
He is an original. “Chris is a rare living link to this amazing old-world profession,” says Dave Wondrich, drinks correspondent for Esquire and author of Imbibe! (Perigee Books, 2007). “There are plenty of creative younger bartenders who know how to mix, but very few who have mastered the lore and demeanor of the old days.”
Chris’ mint juleps may not be traditional, but they are damn good. As he serves you, he recites from the ode to the mint julep written in the 1890s by a Kentucky newspaperman. The last stanza really sums up the drink and this entire book. “Sip it and dream— it is a dream itself,” it goes. “Sip it and say there is no solace for the soul, no tonic for the body like old Bourbon whiskey.
- 12 TO 15 FRESH MINT LEAVES, PLUS 1 SPRIG FOR GARNISH
- 1 OUNCE PEACH SYRUP, SUCH AS MONIN
- FINELY CRUSHED ICE
- 2 1⁄2 OUNCES BOURBON
- SUPERFINE SUGAR
1. Place the mint and 1⁄4 ounce of the peach syrup in a julep cup or old fashioned glass and gently crush the mint leaves with a wooden muddler, working them up the sides of the glass.
2. Loosely pack the glass with finely crushed ice, then add your bourbon. Drizzle the remaining peach syrup on top. Lightly dust the mint sprig with sugar, and garnish the drink with it. Serve immediately.
From the book: Bourbon © 2013 by Fred Thompson and used by permission of The Harvard Common Press