Juleps are classics which have an established place as indispensable and prominent essentials in the Renaissance movement of cocktail and bar culture. There’s hardly a bar out there thinking highly of itself which does not feature a julep on their menu and the quality of a Whiskey Julep or Mint Julep is something every bartender must allow her- or himself to be measured against.I have introduced some Juleps here, too: the Pirates’ Julep, the Lemonbalm Julep and the Whisper of the Forest. Juleps are usually prepared only with few ingredients and therefore depend very much on a sophisticated preparation. One’s personal taste can be quite crucial as well: Personally, I’m a great friend of fresh mint flavors and most of the time I leave the mint leaves inside of the drink to intensify the mint flavor over time. Many bartenders consider this the wrong way of preparing a Julept because they want to avoid overpowering the drink with mint or letting the drink turn too bitter. After several tries I came to the conclusion that I do like it more with the mint inside. Taste is a very subjective matter, so you probably have to find out your preferred way. I seem more likely to be an exception. Anyone who wants a more consistent and controlled mint flavor should take the mint out of the drink (see below).
Today it comes to the Stagger Lee Julep, a very interesting representative of the Juleps, which is a modern variation of the Whiskey Julep and originates from the Stagger Lee Bar in Berlin, where it has been created by Bastian Heuser and Jakob Etzold. It enjoys great popularity and is a permanent article on the bar menu. The secret of the Stagger Lee Julep is the preparation with cherry liqueur and cherry jam. What may sound like you’re dealing with something like a sweet cherry attack turns out to be a surprisingly rounded enjoyment. The cherry is much less dominant than one would suspect. Instead, it highlights the vanilla of the Bourbon to a very full-bodied, aromatic level, which is an absolute revelation of taste. Of course, fruity cherry notes stand out, but this is in no way overpowering the drink. I also added three Dashes of The Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters (they’re not part of the original recipe), which – in my opinion – work quite fantastic in this drink. While not typical for Juleps it very effectively enriches the Bourbon and thereby adds more complexity.
6 cl Bourbon
1,5 bar spoon cherry jam (I like to use jam of black cherries)
1 bar spoon cherry liqueur
4-5 sprigs of mint
3 Dashes The Bitter Truth Chocolate Bitters (optional)
Preparation: First clap the mint between your hands (which sets the fragrant oils of the leaves free) and give 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 herbal flavors I recommend you to press the leaves against the walls of the glass or cup with your bar spoon once in a while. According to the original recipe the mint should be removed now (Personally I always leave my herbs inside when preparing a Julep, so feel free to do as you please).
Fill the glass or the silver cup with crushed ice and stir again. When the glass or cup becomes cloudy on the outside from the cold, the drink is almost finished. Put some crushed ice on top and garnish it with additional mint and pickled cherries.
Glass: Silver cup or Highball (see the pictures)
Garnish: mint and pickled cherries
Buying Sources: Bourbon and cherry liqueur can be found in well-stocked supermarkets, at specialist retailers or online. I like to obtain my mint from Turkish supermarkets.