My friend, Jim, brought me a copy of Perennials: A Southern Celebration of Foods and Flavors, compiled by the Junior Service League of Gainesville, Georgia.
It is one of those eclectic Junior League cookbooks, with some great recipes and some truly funny recipes and some that one might just deem, inedible.
On Saturday, my goddaughter called hoping to find a recipe for a simple syrup. She was getting ready for the Kentucky Derby in true Alabama fashion. She was organizing Mint Juleps and snacks, but she had no intention of actually WATCHING the race. Still, it was important to have all the trappings, regardless of the actual event.
I gave her the two parts water, one part sugar, boil for 10 minutes and cool recipe. Some people use the equal parts sugar and water, but I find it a bit too sweet.
Perennials has a nice Mint Julep recipe.
The General’s Mint Julep
18 mint leaves on stem, divided
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
Finley crushed ice
2 1/2 ounces 86 or 100-proof bourbon
Partially tear 12 mint leaves, leaving them on the stem. Place the leaves in a large glass or silver julep mug with water and sugar. Stir slowly until sugar is dissolved. Fill with ice. Add bourbon. Add more ice to fill as bourbon melts the original ice. Stir. Tear remaining mint leaves; place atop ice. Serve with a straw.
Well, clearly, this is a Georgia recipe. Who makes a single Mint Julep? People in Georgia.
In Alabama, we make a big old pitcher of Mint Juleps because we serve the General and the rest of the troops. And while a horse race is nice, it takes about 2 minutes – Mint Juleps have far more staying power.