What is Wrong with this Mint Julep

Darcy O'Neil :: January 26, 2007 11:19 AM

It is the weekend so lets review a video and see if we can identify some cocktail and bartender related issues. I came across this video on the Webtender forums and it just made me chuckle. The video comes from a Florida bartender competition, kind of. Basically, it's a bunch of video's where you get to vote for your favourite bartenders based on the drinks they make, or more likely their cleavage and muscle build. This particular video is of a Woodford Reserve Mint Julep, made by Andrea who was voted "Best Bartender" in South Florida. Let us see how she does.

The recipe for a classic Mint Julep is as follows, just for your reference:

Mint Julep

2 oz Bourbon
3-4 Mint Sprigs
1 tsp Sugar
Splash of Water

Place mint, sugar and water into shaker and muddle until the sugar is dissolved. Add bourbon and ice, shake and strain into glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Now have your pen and paper ready and start listing what is wrong with this Mint Julep. Here is the video for your viewing pleasure:

So what did you see that was wrong. First limes don’t belong in a true Mint Julep. Next Rose’s definitely doesn’t belong in a Mint Julep and why would you add synthetic lime sour to a perfectly fine real sour mix (lime juice and sugar). Then she muddles with the wrong end of the muddler, which seems to be pretty common error among bartenders. Then she adds sour mix, but why? Weren’t the first two types of sour mix not enough? After a shake she pours the drink into a glass that is woefully to big. Instead of adding more ice she hits it with a blast of Sprite. She still leaves about an inch of space in the glass. More ice would have fixed that. Then she garnishes it with a wilted mint spring that looks like a dead palm tree.

Now I understand that there are different bartenders for different bars. I don’t expect to get truly “classic” drinks at the type of place Andrea works at, I’d order a beer, but if you are going to make a Mint Julep, save some time and skip all three sour mix's, they don’t really belong. With a couple little things, Andrea could make a good Mint Julep and actually save herself some time. Just cut out the limes, Rose’s, sour mix, Sprite and add more ice, use a rocks glass, and you’ll have a decent Mint Julep. If a classic Mint Julep is too strong for Andre’s clientèle, then just add some more sugar, it seems to be the American way. Also, the use of three different "lime sours" shows a complete lack of knowledge about what she is working with, or whoever taught her.

On a side note, I find it funny that bartenders will add more steps than necessary to a simple drink, but cut back on the steps required to make something like a Singapore Sling.

Fix the Pumps
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