mint julep
An illustration of a Mint Julep from “How To Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion” 1862

In preparation for the Kentucky Derby this Saturday, May 6th, I found these mint julep recipes in the book “How To Mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion, Containing clear and reliable directions for mixing all the beverages used in the United States, together with the most popular British, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish recipes, embracing punches, juleps, cobblers, etc., etc., etc., in endless variety,” by Jerry Thomas – formerly principal bar-tender at the Metropolitan Hotel, New York, and the Planter’s House, St. Louis. 1862.

The book gives a short history of the julep:

The julep is peculiarly an American beverage, and in the Southern states is more popular than any other. It was introduced into England by Captain Marryatt, where it is now quite a favorite. The gallant captain seems to have had a penchant for the nectareous drink, and published the recipe in his work on America. We give it in his own words: “I must descant a little upon the mint julep, as it is, with the thermometer at 100°, one of the most delightful and insinuating potations that ever was invented, and may be drunk with equal satisfaction when the thermometer is as low as 70°. There are many varieties, such as those composed of claret, Madeira, &c.; but the ingredients of the real mint julep are as follows. I learned how to make them, and succeeded pretty well.

Put into a tumbler about a dozen sprigs of the tender shoots of mint, upon them put a spoonful of white sugar, and equal proportions of peach and common brandy, so as to fill it up one-third, or perhaps a little less. Then take rasped or pounded ice, and fill up the tumbler. Epicures rub the lips of the tumbler with a piece of fresh pineapple, and the tumbler itself is very often incrusted outside with stalactites of ice. As the ice melts, you drink. I once overheard two ladies talking in the next room to me, and one of them said, ‘Well, if I have a weakness for any one thing, it is for a mint julep!’—a very amiable weakness, and proving her good sense and good taste. They are, in fact, like the American ladies, irresistible.”

Mint Julep

(Use large bar glass)
1 table-spoonful of white pulverized sugar
2-1/2 do. water, mix well with a spoon.

Take three or four sprigs of fresh mint, and press them well in the sugar and water, until the flavor of the mint is extracted; add one and a half wine-glass of Cognac brandy, and fill the glass with fine shaved ice, then draw out the sprigs of mint and insert them in the ice with the stems downward, so that the leaves will be above, in the shape of a bouquet; arrange berries, and small pieces of sliced orange on top in a tasty manner, dash with Jamaica rum, and sprinkle white sugar on top. Place a straw as represented in the cut, and you have a julep that is fit for an emperor.

Brandy Julep

(Use large bar glass)
The brandy julep is made with the same ingredients as the mint julep, omitting the fancy fixings.

Gin Julep

(Use large bar glass.)
The gin julep is made with the same ingredients as the mint julep, omitting the fancy fixings.

Whiskey Julep

(Use large bar glass.)
The whiskey julep is made the same as the mint julep, omitting all fruits and berries.

Pineapple Julep

(For a party of five.)

Peel, slice, and cut up a ripe pineapple into a glass bowl, add the juice of two oranges, a gill of raspberry syrup, a gill of maraschino, a gill of old gin, a bottle of sparkling Moselle, and about a pound of pure ice in shaves; mix, ornament with berries in season, and serve in flat glasses.