Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alton Brown's Mint Julep: Boo, Colonel

OK, I'll admit that Alton Brown does a pretty amusing version of Col. Sanders. But his mint julep is shameful. Muddle your mint until it looks like pesto? Serve it in a rocks glass -- with big rocks of ice instead of crushed ice? Top it with seltzer like it's a mojito? Alton, sugar, you bring shame upon the Southland.

My husband does it the right way, with simple syrup, lightly bruised mint and crushed ice. Oh, and silver julep cups, of course.

Spring may be flirting with us like knickers under a hoop skirt, but we have plenty of mint up in our yard, ready to go into service in time for Kentucky Derby on Saturday. We've been practicing our juleps since late February, just to make sure we're ready to go.

Wayne's Mint Julep -- The Right Way

Put 1/2 ounce sugar syrup and a half-dozen fresh mint leaves in a metal cup. (Preferably silver, but even a pewter goblet or an aluminum cup will do.)

Bruise the leaves GENTLY with a wooden muddler or long-handled spoon. Add 2 ounces bourbon. Fill the cup with crushed ice and a mint sprig. Add a splash of cold water if you like (not carbonated water or selter). Sip slowly through a tiny straw.


lkmi said...

I like Alton, but tradition sure isn't his strong suit.
His recipe for "Southern" biscuits includes yogurt!

Arcola Tisdale said...

Is this the only thing you write about. the 'correct' way to prepare southern foods and drinks? Get some new schtick grammy purvis.

Kathleen Purvis said...

At least I'm not dressing up like a Kentucky colonel and affecting a fake verandah accent. That's my idea of schtick.

In my defense, if you look down the list of recent blog posting, you'll see plenty that isn't Southern, like wine tastings and news roundups.

But I'll also stand guilty as charged. I live in the South, I eat in the South, and I write in the South. So of course I give attention to the South. It's a big part of my beat, and a big part of what readers ask about.

I'm also not alone. This is from an AP story that moved today, on the rising interest in Southern food and Southern cookbooks:

"Food & Wine magazine will even devote its September issue to the region and its food.

“We've seen a huge rise in interest in the food of the South outside the South,” says Dana Cowin, the magazine's editor-in-chief. “We're seeing an expansion of ideas for southern food being adopted by cooks in other areas. There are people doing wonderful southern cooking in New York, in Boston, in Chicago.”

I guess you can just call me trendy, Arcola.

Scottyrock said...

Dear Arcola - If you don't like Alton's show, you turn the channel. If you don't like Kathleen's blog, turn the page... I hear there may be other food blogs on the internets.

Kathleen - my mom made a mean Mint Julep.

Scott (Simple, Fresh, Southern)

Anonymous said...

Adhering to tradition isn't what Alton is about, so taking issue with his julep recipe is pointless (unless you are trying to, say, rake up some pseudo-controversy for a blog post).

He puts a clever and unexpected twist on things that have been done the same way since the dinosaurs were making mint juleps. That's his product, that "Mr Wizard is loose in the kitchen" bit.

He almost always manages to add a measure of fun as well as a different flavor or time-saving trick to the same-old. If he was promoting himself as a guardian of tradition he'd deserve some argument, but that's not what he's about.

Anonymous said...

Re: the rocks glass-Did Alton not specifically SAY that a julep should be made in a metal cup and that he was using the rocks glass only so the audience could see what he was doing?