I have to admit: the picture for this article really is a stylistic inconsistency. That is because this cocktail – like all its Julep-relatives – is traditionally served in a silver cup. So I beg your pardon. Nonetheless, the Gin Julep tastes also great inside of a glass.
The reason why I have not served it in the silver cup is relatively simple: all my silver cups were in use at the moment the picture was taken and since I simply cannot keep up with the equipment of a professional bar, I have chosen to prepare this Gin Julep inside of a tumbler. That did little harm to its taste, even if the cold could not stay optimally inside of the drink like it would have done when using an authentic silver cup. The occasion was a small Julep tasting with some friends in which I have tried different varieties of the classic category and was finally asked for a Gin Julep.
The Gin Julep is certainly not the Julep that first comes to mind when dealing with this category. Named after the Arab Rose Drink “Julab”, the Juleps are indeed one of the oldest cocktail categories of all, but Gin usually plays a markedly subordinate role compared to whiskey or rum. Though the Gin Julep is no less aromatic, quite the opposite! Of course, it is of fundamental importance which gin is selected for using in a rather purist cocktail like the Gin Julep. You should anticipate how it will work together with fresh mint flavors, because that’s the special magic of this cocktail. The gin should neither stand in a conflict with the mint, nor should it be so subtle it is completely overwhelmed by the mint. Harmony is once again what you’re looking for and it is often not easy to create it. Finally, my choice fell on a good Hendrick’s Gin, perhaps because its infusion with roses seemed to atmospherically suit the origin of “Julabs” and also the fresh cucumber tones do harmonize perfectly with the mint. Besides that, you can’t usually go wrong with Hendrick’s in most cases. Although Jerry Thomas had no Hendrick’s Gin when mixing his Gin Juleps in 1862.
6 cl Gin
1 bar spoon sugar syrup
14-18 mint leaves
Preparation: First clap the mint between your hands (which releases the fragrant oils of the mint leaves) and add them into a chilled glass or a silver cup alongside with the remaining ingredients. Stir occasionally and allow it to infuse for 5 minutes. To intensify the mint flavors, I recommend you to press the leaves against the walls of the glass with your bar spoon once in a while. According to the original recipe the mint should be removed now (I like to leave it in nonetheless, because I think the drink does not become bitter because of this. It intensifies the mint flavor. But that’s surely a matter of taste). Fill the glass or the silver cup with crushed ice and stir again. When the glass or cup becomes steamed up from the cold, the drink is almost finished. Put some crushed ice on top and garnish it with additional mint. If you take the drink to your mouth now, the scent of mint leaves immediately starts to seduce your senses!
Glass: silver cup (in an emergency you can also use a tumbler)
Garnish: twig of mint
Buying sources: In specialized stores or in well-stocked supermarkets. Depending on the desired gin you might also need to order it online.