In the Spirit: Julep 229

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– The Place celebrates spring with addition of blueberry julep to seasonal cocktail menu

– Written by Leara Rhodes

– Photographed by Justin Evans –

Perhaps no other cocktail better symbolizes classy sipping in the South, especially around Derby Day, than the mint julep. Frosty cups, brimming with ice and anchored by bourbon, satisfy on even the hottest of Georgia days.

In celebration of spring, Benjamin Ray, bar manager of The Place in downtown Athens, has created a local mint julep recipe – the “Julep 229.” The name comes from The Place’s address: 229 East Broad Street.

The Place, “a relaxed Southern eatery,” just celebrated its three-year anniversary and is owned by the Pope family. Alan Pope is the co-owner with his father and brother. The General Manager is Matt Myers, who oversees the daily operations.

This drink will be on their spring cocktail list starting at the end of April and will run until summer and will be available for all who want to experience a moment of the Kentucky Derby at the first of May.

Ray chose to focus on blueberries for several reasons. First, he grew up in Alma, Georgia, located in the southeast part of the state. Second, Alma is considered the blueberry capital of Georgia with a yearly festival and home to the Georgia Blueberry Growers Association meetings. Georgia has become one of the largest producers of blueberries in the United States, so although people mainly think of peaches, Georgia is definitely a “Blueberry” state as well.

About the alcohol, he says, “In regard to my choice of bourbon, I chose Baker’s because of its deep oak aromas and an almost black pepper spice that blends well with the sweetness of the blueberries.”

Benjamin Ray, bar manager of The Place in downtown Athens, has created a local mint julep recipe – the ‘Julep 229’ – in time for Derby Day celebrations. A native of Alma, the blueberry capital of Georgia, Ray chose to infuse the cocktail with a lavender-blueberry syrup to balance the bourbon’s oaky flavors.

Julep 229

1 Large Mint Sprig

1/2 oz Lavender-Blueberry Syrup (see recipe below)

2.5 oz Baker’s Bourbon

Mint bouquet garnish

In a julep tin (or rocks glass), lightly muddle mint with Lavender-Blueberry Syrup to release oils. Pour in the bourbon and fill the tin with finely crushed ice. Stir to frost up the tin and mound more ice into the top of the glass to form a dome. Garnish with the mint bouquet and sip with a straw.

Lavender-Blueberry Syrup: 

1 Pint Fresh Blueberries

1.5 cups sugar

1 teaspoon dried lavender Flowers

1 Tablespoon Fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup water

Place the blueberries, lavender, and sugar in a saucepan and with the back of a wooden spoon mash the ingredients together. Add the lemon juice and water and bring to boil over medium heat stirring throughout. Decrease the heat and simmer for 15 minutes uncovered. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and use the wooden spoon to extract as much syrup as possible.  Keep syrup refrigerated for up to a week.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Dottie Ray says:

    Very interesting article about a very interesting fellow. Drink sounds marvelous.

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