Brian Makes Mint Juleps: The 1840

Next up in our series on the history of the mint julep, Brian shares an unexpectedly delicious edition. 

This recipe comes from Louisville bartender Joe Redding in the year 1840. I have to admit, I was ready to be disappointed by a non-Bourbon mint julep but this is truly one of the most magical, tantalizing drinks I have ever had. And whatever you were thinking you needed to get done before you started drinking it, that notion will be quite dissipated by the time you are done.

Here’s how you can make it at home!


1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp room temperature water

Crushed ice

Ice cubes

3 large mint leaves

2 sprigs of mint

1 oz (2 tbsp) Cognac (I use Hennessy in the video)

1 oz (2 tbsp) Jamaica Rum (Not Jamaica but I use Spirits of French Lick Stampers Creek American Rum in the video; it has the perfect character for this. Don’t let having a rum other than Jamaican stop you from doing this, though.)

1 oz (2 Tbsp) Ruby Port

Lemon wedge

This recipe calls for a glass rather than the silver cups we are used to. Dissolve the sugar in the water in the glass. Mostly fill the rest of the glass with a combination of a couple of ice cubes and crushed ice but leave a little space so that the spirits can be added without overflowing it. Place the three mint leaves on top. Transfer this all to a cocktail shaker and give it at least 10 good shakes. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, try pouring it back and forth between a couple of glasses. Pour everything back into your glass. Rub the rim of the glass with the lemon wedge. Agitate the mint sprigs in your hands a bit to get the scent going. Plant them stalk down in the beverage. Put a straw in it and clip off near the top of the mint.


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