October 24, 2012 by Bourbon Empire
Here in Washington, people are nerds. They host parties to watch political debates. During the first presidential debate this year, people took drinks every time Obama said, “Let me be clear,” or Romney used the term, “job creators.” For the vice presidential debates, they drank every time Biden said “literally” or Ryan uttered the word “freedom.” Some of us, just to get through the debates, took a drink whenever anybody used the word “the.”
On election night the parties are epic, and people show up to work bleary eyed the next day. Some of them are out of jobs, and some of them have managed to hold on to their same old miserable jobs it took them 39 years of school to land.
So, what to drink during election night parties this year? I say go with the mint julep.
It seems an unorthodox choice, more associated with steamy summers than November’s crisp weather, but the julep actually has a special connection to elections. During the antebellum years, candidates provided – free of charge – whiskey-filled barrels with their names on the side. Mint bouquets and sugar heaps were thrown into the barrel while tin cups hung alongside. It wasn’t a proper julep, per se, but close enough.
If you don’t have an entire barrel of whiskey for your living room, go with a more traditional recipe.
So, which julep recipe to use? There are many, but if an official authority is needed, let’s go with Henry Clay, who represented Kentucky in the House and Senate for more than fifty years before he died in 1852. He’s pictured below, looking a tad bit like Rob Lowe. Here’s his (pretty classic) version:
“Mint leaves, fresh and tender, should be pressed against a coin-silver goblet and the back of a silver spoon. Only bruise the leaves gently and then remove from the goblet. Half fill with cracked ice. Mellow bourbon is poured from the jigger and allowed to slide slowly through the cracked ice. In another receptacle, granulated sugar is slowly mixed into chilled limestone water [water that has flowed through limestone and is therefore hard] then poured on top of the ice. While beads of moisture gather on the burnished exterior of the goblet, garnish the frosted brim with the choicest sprig of mint. Then sip.”