Poet, lawyer and autobiographer William Alexander Percy (the uncle of Walker Percy, "The Moviegoer," "The Second Coming," etc.) wrote up his recollections of his father and friends imbibing Mint Juleps and gave the "right way" to make them in "Lanterns On The Levee; Recollections Of A Planter's Son" (New York, Alfred A Knopf, 1941)
First you needed excellent bourbon whisky; rye or Scotch would not do at all. Then you put half an inch of sugar in the bottom of the glass and merely dampened it with water. Next, very quickly - and here is the trick in the procedure - you crushed your ice, actually powdered it, preferably in a towel with a wooden mallet, so quickly that it remained dry, and slipping two sprigs of fresh mint against the inside of the glass, you crammed the ice in right to the brim, packing it with your hand. Last you filled the glass, which apparently had no room left for anything else, with bourbon, the older the better, and grated a bit of nutmeg on the top.My own addition to Percy's classic recipe is to proceed to throw out the concoction and pour two fingers of Makers's Mark, neat.
Will Percy's "Lanterns on the Levee," 2008 reprint
Walker Percy's Wikepedia entry
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