Official Mint Julep at Tales of the Cocktail

Tried making a Mint Julep lately? Maybe you should. A really great one could net you $1,250 in cold hard cash and extreme bragging rights.

Mint JulepTales of the Cocktail (our favorite annual culinary and cocktail festival) is partnering with Culinary Concierge Magazine and to seek out a winner for this year’s Official Cocktail Competition of the 7th Annual Tales of the Cocktail. The winning julep will be used as the official cocktail at this year’s festival in New Orleans.

The word “julep” used to refer to a medicinal potion. The American South started using the term to describe a heavily iced drink concocted of some kind of spirit, sugar and mint and lo and behold, the term evolved. Today, “Mint Julep” most likely brings to mind the classic drink of Kentucky Derby fame, served in its quintessential silver cup. This is indeed a julep, however most people don’t realize that juleps can take many forms.

The contest we’re discussing asks you to create a julep of your own for 2009. David Wondrich, a cocktail historian, and a judge for this competition, provides the following definition for a “Julep”:

  • A Julep can be based on spirits, wine (or fortified wine) or a combination of the two
  • It must be made in a tall (10-14 oz) glass with cracked or shaved ice
  • It may contain citrus or other fruit juice, but only in a proportion not to exceed 1/8 of the total volume of liquid (not including ice)
  • It must include fresh mint
  • It must contain sugar or some other sweetener

Like any contest, there are rules. Here they are:

  • Competition is open to any bartender currently working in the bar or restaurant industry
  • Each participant shall use the official entry form submitting only one recipe per form
  • All recipes shall be original creations
  • Recipes shall be expressed in ounces, drops, or dashes and scaled for a single serving
  • Your cocktail must utilize one of the seven brands including: Laird’s Applejack, Pierre Ferrrand Cognac, Hendrick’s Gin, Bols Genever, Buffalo Trace Bourbon Portfolio, Sazerac Rye 6 Year Old, Rum: Cruzan (any flavor)
  • In addition to the base spirit, a julep should always include mint and some form of sweetening agent. Within this framework you can easily express your creativity in how the drink is sweetened and how the mint is incorporated, along with other ingredients, which do not overly detract from the base foundation
  • All ingredients utilized should be expected to be available to most bars or easily acquired/made
  • Cocktails made with inappropriate ingredients will be disqualified with determination of what constitutes an inappropriate ingredient up to the discretion of the staff of Tales of the Cocktail and the judging committee
  • Cocktails will be judged on Originality, Use of product, Taste, and Presentation
  • You do not need to be present to compete or win
  • First prize winner will receive $1,250 cash and be the “Official Cocktail” of Tales of the Cocktail 2009
  • Second place winner will receive $500.00 cash and third place winner will receive $350.00
  • Winning recipes will be featured with photography in the summer issues of Culinary Concierge Magazine in New Orleans
  • Winning recipes will be featured with photography on
  • Winning recipe will be featured in the 2009 Tales of the Cocktail recipe book produced by Mud Puddle Books
  • Winning recipe will be featured at and multiple events at Tales of the Cocktail 2009

So bartenders, put your drinking caps on and get to mixing. Need some inspiration? Try starting with our Fee Brothers Simple Syrup, Mint Bitters and the essential Julep Strainer.

Whatever you do, don’t forget that presentation is everything! Keep your cocktails nice and frosty in our nickel-plated mint julep cup.

May the best cocktail win. Good luck!


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