lolling about the quarter: "emerson's delicious refreshing ginger mint julep"

thirsty thursday
notes from maggie's farm

"When all is ready, assemble your guests on the porch or in the garden where the aroma of the juleps will rise heavenward and make the birds sing. Propose a worthy toast, raise the goblets to your lips, bury your nose in the mint, inhale a deep breath of it's fragrance and sip the nectar of the gods."

Lt. Gen. S.B. Buckner Jr, in a letter to a fellow General on his preparation of the Mint Julep, 1937.

Sights, sounds, smells while 'lolling' about the Quarter.
There is something about lolling about the French Quarter that makes a girl want a hat, a fan, and a cocktail, and by the time we checked out of the Bienville House Hotel, I'd found all three.  

If a girl gets a yen for a proper hat in the Big Easy, she need not look far, for their are hat stalls and shops up and down the Quarter, and beyond.  I brought one of my own, but it was so utilitarian.  What I needed was a glamorous, impractical hat, I believed with every fiber of my being.  So after trying on maybe 50 or so, and comparing prices in every shop in which a hat could be found, I finally settled on one--a hat so large, with such dramatic flair as to represent the large and dramatically flair-full days, and evenings, we'd spent in New Orleans.

I'll take this one.  No, wait.  Maybe that one.  Oh, I don't know.  Let's keep looking.
The fan was just plain necessary.  Hot-natured already, I always seem to forget just how steamy the late afternoons become after a brief, but thoroughly, necessary, dusting-off rain shower.  With just a slight breeze cooling the perspiration that's inevitable for ones grown unaccustomed to the steam bath  emanating from the hot asphalt streets, one might be able to stand the heat.  However, as the climate so customarily is still as a soldier, that slight breeze needs a little man-made nudge.  Thus, the hand fan is a girl's best friend.  And, naturally, a delicate, hand-painted, wispy fan is much preferred to the sale circular I'd been using for the past few days. I found it in the lace shop right off of Jackson Square that I've been visiting for the past 20 years.  The lovely shop smells too strongly of roses for my traveling partner, so off to the cathedral with the camera for him, and I, joyfully, took in every last stitch of handmade lacework, as I've done so many times before.  They have other little treats scattered throughout, and in one of those baskets, I found a pretty little collapsible fan with faint blue flowers painted on the silk that connected the blades.  Perfect.  I'd take it.

And that leads up to the cocktail.  I won't pretend that the first cocktail I had was on the last day of our visit. Oh, no.  There were cocktails every day of our visit. There were the Sazeracs I enjoyed with my massive plates of raw and char-grilled oysters for one meal.  There was my favorite Abita beer for lunch one day.  There were a few Bloody Mary's for breakfast(s)--kind of the 'hair of the dog that bit' me, if you will.  There were those gigantic frozen daiquiris Tom and I shared on Bourbon Street.  And Decatur Street.  Okay, and a few other streets.  There was the requisite hurricane from Pat O'Brien's---all this for a woman who really doesn't drink all that much.  Let's just say I'd had a tad more than my share.

Comings and goings--The Bienville House
Which is why, maybe, in all of our comings and goings to and from the Bienville House, on Decatur, across from the firehouse, I'd only now noticed, on the last day of our stay, the fading, fabulous old advertisement, painted on the side wall of one of the building across the street, for Delicious, Refreshing, Emerson's Ginger Mint Julep. Oh that sounded, so delicious and refreshing.  But, it was 11 a.m.  Which, in New Orleans, is a lot like 7 a.m. is for the rest of the world.  And it was too early for a Ginger 
Mint Julep.

So I snapped a few shots and tucked the memory away, for a day other than this day, which was designated as a water and coffee-only day, and for good reason.  

Fast forward almost two weeks, and here we are.  And, I of sober thought and body, ready to test the waters again, gather up the necessary ingredients for a Ginger Mint Julep.  I thought you might like to join me.  So, gather together.....

Bourbon whisky, grated ginger, fresh mint, palm sugar, ice, cocktail shaker, and your favorite glass.
Now, you can get all kinds of fancy and make a ginger-infused simple syrup, muddle the mint, rim the glass with a slice of pineapple, crush the ice finely.......whatever.  This drink right here?  This drink I made is RUSTIC, friends. Intended to be just like the city from which it drew it's inspiration--BIG and EASY.

I took 4 healthy mint sprigs, bruised them by rubbing vigorously between my palms, dumped them in that shiny cocktail shaker.  I added a big ole healthy tablespoonful of palm sugar.  (You could use any sugar, or even honey...we're not standing on ceremony, here.) I filled the shaker with semi-crushed ice (the icemaker's on the fritz again). I grated ginger over the top, say, about a tablespoonful.  I poured my best bourbon (which isn't that swell.  Maybe you should spring for the middle shelf, at least.), about 3/4 of the way up the side of that pretty, shiny, cocktail shaker.  I put on the top and I shook the dickens out of it for, like, five minutes or so.  I stopped when my arms ached, rested a little, then shook again.  Now, really, if I wasn't such a lightweight, I'd stop right here, strain it into a glass over more ice, and drink it, like most folks do.

But, I AM a lightweight, so I added a little water.  You could add apple juice instead, if you're a sweet-toothed lightweight.  I've done both.  They were both goooood.  

Now, if I can get my act together (and that's iffy, because I have an event to attend for a worthy cause, and I'm setting aside blogging for the rest of the day, night, and 'morrow morning), I'm going to try to have a post up tomorrow about Hot Roast Beef Poboys with Debris Gravy, N'Awlins Style.  But in true N'Awlins style--I might be running late.  Let's see how that goes.


  1. Great post! You just reminded me that I need my Big Hat and MY Fan tonight when we go out to Pies & Pigs.

    1. That fan saved my evening---I've dedicated a spot in each purse, right next to the cell phone and sunglasses, for necessary items. It's getting HOT out there!

      (p.s. Thank you, again, for 'sponsoring' my attendance at Pies and Pigs. It was a wonderful evening!)

  2. Great story. Great pictures as well. I love ginger. That ginger mint julep would be perfect in this TX heat.

    1. And that heat has arrived, hasn't it? lol Stay cool this weekend, friend!


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