There comes a time in the spring that the Julep cups get taken out of the cabinet and polished. Not just shined- but really given a thorough going over. Today was that day.
Sure, I’ve made a few mint Juleps in these venerable cups this year, but the cups were not showing their inner luster. The silver was dull. Some would say they were tarnished. Badly tarnished at that.
I took them outside into the sunshine, a bucket of cool water at the ready and prepared my work surface with a clean bar cloth. Paper towels seem to be the best at the heavy tarnish removal. Then there is the elbow grease necessary to clean the layers of dark stain. I use baking soda and water made into a paste for removing the stains from my nearly 80 year old Julep Cups. These cups are marked Sheriden- Silver over Copper. Anyone who collects antique bar ware would know that Silver over Copper makes for the frostiest drink. When you stir the mint with crushed ice, kiss it with the sweetest Rye Whisky and sprinkle Demerara Sugar over the frosty layers, magic happens. First the cup will get cold in your hand. Next it will begin to show frost.
The next thing that happens is the silver will get sticky from the cold. Your fingers might actually stick to the sides of the cup. White frost will appear, the thicker the frost the better.
You are becoming one with your cup. Your drink will emulate every perfect mint Julep made in that same cup since the first time the sweet flavor of the mint folds elegantly into the char of the Rye Whiskey and the sweetness of the sugar taps against your tongue. You’ve made the perfect drink for spring and summer… And since you control the amount of alcohol in the drink, how smashed you become is completely up to you.
The Classic Mint Julep
In a Sterling Silver (Copper Core) Julep Cup add a bit of Rye, a bit of raw cane sugar and a bit of mint
Add some crushed ice
Add some more Whiskey (I use Tuthilltown Rye, you can use what you like)
Add some more Mint
Continue alternating stirring or muddling until the cup is most frosty
It seems to work best on a humid day
Continue, ice, Rye, mint, sugar
You can also use Dark Rum for this cocktail, just cut back a bit on the sugar!