down home southern cookin' / by laurel

On Saturday, Ashley's folks have graciously invited the scattered Los Angeles and Long Beach miscreants to their home in El Segundo for a Southern cookin' FEAST. I, for one, stopped eating three weeks ago in preparation for this event, which will undoubtedly consist mainly of lazily drifting in the Millar's hammock, as evidenced from the South of the Border Fiesta they previously treated us to (I should note this is immediately before I flipped ass over tea kettle onto the ground. Hammocks are very hazardous):

Lazily drifting in hammocks, gorging oneself on Southern cookin' and affecting a convincing Southern accent would not (would NOT, I say!) be complete, however, without sipping the most Southern of all the Southern drinks:

The Mint Julep.

I had my first sip of a mint julep (and when I say 'sip,' it's not as some bloated writer-like contrivance. I mean, literally, I was 18, and my aunt bought one and basically let my tongue touch the side of the cup for .5 seconds before yanking it away from my underaged ass) in New Orleans, at Oak Alley (it's the famous mansion with all the famous oak trees). From that point on, I was dreaming of the day when I could recline on a chaise and fan myself while getting totally and utterly wasted on bourbon and simple syrup.

That day has arrived. Er, sort of. Mrs Millar is providing us with everything we could possibly dream of this saturday, so Jess and I thought it would be nice to make mint juleps for the occasion. Except that no mint julep is complete without the traditional silver mint julep tumbler. After searching fruitlessly, scouring every last cob-webbed corner of the Internets, I finally found something that may work as a decent substitute (I'm caught between this one and this one).

All of this makes me want to go back to New Orleans again immediately, because I doubt I've ever experienced a more magical city. In lieu of that, however, I'll sip my mint julep and try not to fall out of the hammock on Saturday.

Mint Juleps:

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
sprigs of fresh mint
crushed ice
Kentucky Bourbon

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Kentucky bourbon. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of  the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Serve with a fan and a side of Django Reinhardt. Ahh do declare! 

Update: 2 items to note: 1) I met a nice man, Brian T., a longtime bartender who shared his accolades-garnered mint julep recipe with me last night. So we'll see, Brian T. We'll SEE. 2) I also found a Dixieland New Orleans jazz record, used for $2.99 at Fingerprints with J last night. Now about those Mardi Gras beads...