Method

Much to the chagrin of Kentuckians, Charlestonians claim both the first jockey club and the first mint julep. I offer no proof for the julep, but it is true that no Lowcountry dooryard or garden is without its mint plants. I have friends over for a ritual mint julep once a year, usually in early May. Pound ice in a towel against bricks, then make a simple sugar syrup by mashing several fresh mint leaves in a teaspoon of sugar with the back of a spoon in each silver mint julep cup. Add, a little at a time, some bourbon or sour mash whiskey and a little of the finely crushed ice to each glass, stirring all the while and alternating the liquor and the ice until the julep cup is filled and heavily frosted on the outside. Garnish each julep with a sprig of fresh mint and serve with a white cloth napkin folded around the base of the cup.

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