Mint Julep

Then comes the zenith of man’s pleasure.
Then comes the julep ­­– the mint julep.
Who has not tasted one has lived in vain.
The honey of Hymettus brought no such solace to the soul;
the nectar of the gods is tame beside it.
It is the very dream of drinks,
the vision of sweet quaffings.

The Bourbon and the mint are lovers.
In the same land they live,
on the same food are they fostered.
The mint dips its infant leaf
into the same stream
that makes the Bourbon what it is.
The corn grows in the level lands
through which small streams meander.
By the brook-side the mint grows.
As the little wavelets pass,
they glide up to kiss the feet of the growing mint,
and the mint bends to salute them.
Gracious and kind it is,
living only for the sake of others.
Like a woman’s heart
it gives its sweetest aroma when bruised.
Among the first to greet the spring, it comes.
Beside the gurgling brooks that make music in the fields,
it lives and thrives.
When the bluegrass begins to shoot its gentle sprays to sun,
mint comes, and its sweetest soul drinks at the crystal brook.
It is virgin then.
But soon it must be married to old Bourbon.
His great heart, his warmth of temperament,
and that affinity which no one understands,
demands the wedding.

How shall it be?

Take from the cold spring some water,
pure as angels are;
mix it with sugar till it seems like oil.
Then take a glass
and crush your mint within it with a spoon
– crush it around the borders of the glass
and leave no place untouched.
Then throw the mint away
– it is a sacrifice.
Fill with cracked ice the glass;
pour in the quantity of Bourbon which you want.
It trickles slowly through the ice.
Let it have time to cool,
then pour your sugared water over it.
No spoon is needed;
no stirring allowed
– just let it stand a moment.
Then around the brim place sprigs of mint,
so that the one who drinks may find taste and odor at one draft.

Then when it is made, sip it slowly.
August suns are shining,
the breath of the south wind is upon you.
It is fragrant, cold and sweet – it is seductive.
No maiden’s kiss is tenderer or more refreshing,
no maiden’s touch could be more passionate.
Sip it and dream – you cannot dream amiss.
Sip it and dream – it is a dream itself.
No other land can give so sweet solace for your cares;
no other liquor soothes you in melancholy days

Sip it and say there is no solace for the soul,
no tonic for the body like old Bourbon whiskey.

Joshua Smith, The Sweet Dream of Drunks

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