The Perfect Mint Julep

I'm fairly certain this recipe originated with Mark Twain, and that he began, "First, take the best damn bourbon you can find ..." Until I find that source, here's a version told by Master Distiller Jimmy Russell of the Wild Turkey distillery, to journalist Matt Labash.1

"To make the perfect mint julep," Russell intones, "You have to have a sterling silver mint julep cup, and 200 milliliters of Wild Turkey 101 proof. You got to shave the ice in that mint julep cup--you don't want to put it in crushed. Then you go down to the spring where the fresh mint's growing, and early that morning, you take eight to ten leaves of the fresh mint. You put it in, you mash it up to get the juice, then you take about a teaspoon of powdered sugar and enough water to dissolve it. Let it sit for about ten minutes, so you get the sweetness of the mint flavor. Then you strain it into your shaved ice. You take a sprig of mint, with all the leaves, and stick it down into the cup, ice and all."
At this point, all of us journalists are writing scrupulously, eager to impress our friends at our next Kentucky Derby party, which even the non-horse-racing enthusiasts among us are now planning on throwing. "At that point," Russell continues, "you walk to the back of your porch, throw it all away, and drink the 101 Wild Turkey straight," he says, as we all stop scribbling.
"Did you get all that down?"

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