I’ve come over all a bit southern belle today. Not the termagant, Scarlett O’ Hara-ish brand of belle – more the languid, reclining on the verandah type. You can put it down to the weather.
According to Rum and Monkeys southern name generator, if I really were a southern belle I would be called Clementine Wambles. Hmmm, I kind of like that – I see Clementine as being from not one of the first families, her money comes from some low trade or her Pa invested in some shady speculations. She has impossibly long eyelashes, is considered a bit fast and people suspect she’s been known to rouge.
The problem is how to act out this fantasy? I have no verandah to idle seductively on, I’m not expecting any ‘gentlemen callers’ and I have no party to attend this evening requiring me to spend the afternoon curling my hair and being laced into some ravishing frock. What is an aspiring belle supposed to do?
The answer is as always to be found in the cocktail cabinet – what does any good Southerner do when the temperature rises? Sips a long, cool Mint Julep of course. Luckily, all the ingredients are to hand and I have a profusion of mint in the garden. As I have a profusion of lemon balm likewise and apparently this is a good match with spearmint (my mint variety is Black Peppermint) I added that in too. It was refreshing with subtle lemon/herb notes in addition to the mint – yes, ma’am, I declare I could get used to some good Southern living…
I’m not going to get into the origins of the Julep as there’s plenty online already as well as much debate on the correct recipe. Instead here is my take on a classic drink that is perfect for reconnecting to your inner Julie Marsden.
Balmy day Julep
75 ml Bourbon
4 sprigs lemon balm
4 sprigs mint
2 tsps caster sugar
Add the mint, lemon balm and sugar to a bowl and lightly muddle with a little water to dissolve the sugar. Add the bourbon and refrigerate for one hour. Half fill a Collins or Julep glass with crushed ice and add half the liquid mixture and stir. Fill to the top with crushed ice, add remaining liquid and stir. Garnish with mint sprig.
These are deceptively strong so y’all take it easy now.