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Old Forester Ready To Drink Mint Julep

Posted on by Eric Burke

It’s summer and to some of us in the bourbon world, that means it’s also Julep Season. My wife is a big fan of the mint julep. It carries all the lovely flavors of a good bourbon and adds in some sweetness and delicate mint. I normally take my julep without the mint, sugar, julep cup or most of the ice when I make one for her but I can be persuaded on a particularly hot day to partake.

But sometimes making a julep can be a bit too much for me. On a lazy Saturday afternoon? Sure. On that same Saturday when I’ve been working on the landscaping all day? Not a chance. I prefer my cocktail to be whiskey in a glass on a day like that. 

I saw somewhere that last Saturday was National Mint Julep Day. I have no idea if that is actually a thing or if it was just a random person on Twitter proclaiming their love for the julep, but it was enough to make my wife want one. The trouble was it was a Saturday that I spent all day shoveling a pickup-load of mulch into various places in my yard and I wasn’t in the mood for making one. So it was with no little interest that when we went to the liquor store for beer that evening that I noticed the Old Forester Ready-To-Drink Mint Julep. My wife seemed satisfied, so we picked it up. 

I was curious about just how “ready-to-drink” this was after my wife told me it was better on the rocks than just chilled. And so as a service to you, my dear reader, we took it upon ourselves to do a completely scientific (not at all scientific) discovery as to how ready to drink it really was. We tried it chilled in a Glencairn, 2 ounces made into a mint julep and then in desperation with an additional half ounce of good bourbon dumped in.

Old Forester Ready to Drink Mint Julep

Purchase Info: $24.99, 1 Liter. Viking Liquor Barrel, Prior Lake, MN

Details: 30% ABV, Caramel Colored

Nose: Heavy spearmint gum and something resembling whiskey

Mouth: Sugary sweet and thick. Spearmint gum and no hint of whiskey.

Finish: None to speak of. 

Thoughts (neat): Well this isn’t very good, but then it’s hardly a fair test, is it? Whether it says “ready to drink” or not, I doubt it was intended to be tasted out of a Glencairn glass. Let’s try it next in it something like it’s natural environment. Let’s make a mint julep out of it. It’s already sweet and minty so I’m just going to pour it over crushed ice in a julep cup and shove in a large sprig of mint:

Thoughts (in Julep): Wow, this is still way too sweet for me. My wife tells me it’s better, I’m starting to doubt her good sense. The overpowering mint has been cut some, but a medicinal bitterness remains. In desperation, I decide to mix in a half ounce of good bourbon.

Thoughts (in julep with additional bourbon): So this isn’t terrible and on a hot day, where I’m too tired to make a julep, it should do. In a pinch. If you are out of beer. And don’t have a car. And live too far away from the store to walk.

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Never mind, just shove a mint sprig in your bourbon and call it good. (Maybe even Old Forester.)

I do love the frost that collects on these cups though...


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