LIFE

Månedens drink: Mint julep

Go to a spring where cool, crystal-clear water bubbles from under a bank of dew-washed ferns. In a consecrated vessel, dip up a little water at the source. Follow the stream through its banks of green moss and wildflowers until it broadens and trickles through beds of mint growing in aromatic profusion and waving softly in the summer breezes. Gather the sweetest and tenderest shoots and gently carry them home. Go to the sideboard and select a decanter of Kentucky Bourbon, distilled by a master hand, mellowed with age yet still vigorous and inspiring. An ancestral sugar bowl, a row of silver goblets, some spoons and some ice and you are ready to start.

Ordene er S.B.Buckners, og de er skrevet i 1937. Det det drejer sig om er en Mint Julep.

Der findes cocktails der er så fyldt med historie og tradition at et enkelt nip virker som en madeleinekage, en eksplosion af associationer, et fald gennem historien der sender dig hvirvlende gennem borgerkrige og stumfilmskys. Der findes cocktails der rækker fra dine læber og hundredevis af år tilbage, over oceaner og kontinenter. Der samler verden og lader dig få et kort glimt af den totalitet som al historieskrivning er en del af.

Åh – knust is som pulversne mod din overlæbe, og næsen begravet i sarte grønne blade. Sødmen fra en vellagret bourbon, understøttet af en anelse sukker, og det hele samler sig på tungen mens dine fingre fryser fast til iskoldt sølv. Og selvom det regner og klokken er kvart i fem på en røvsyg eftermiddag ved du, inderst inde, at det er lige over middag og du faktisk sidder på en veranda i Kentucky.

Mint Julep – et lille stykke af sydstatssommer serveret i en pokal. Bomuldsmarker og hestevæddeløb og slaveriet, og det er ikke alt sammen fryd og gammen, men verdenshistorien er ikke en dans på roser, eller rettere, det er den, og de strutter af torne, og du drikker også død og lynchninger og slaget ved Gettysburg og ensomme mødre der venter på sønner der aldrig vender hjem.

Og den eneste konstant i dette virvar af historie og ulykke og lange sommerdage hvor kåde hingste trækker mere og mere snavsede sække med hastigt udåndende indfangne flugtforsøg, du kan ikke flygte fra din farve boy, det eneste der aldrig ændrer sig mens dagene bliver lange og piger mister deres mødom og får røde kinder, er de frostdækkede sider af en Mint Julep-kop.

Hele verden er i den kop. Kontinenter af knust is, øde landskaber, hastigt smeltende toppe og bidende kulde. Grønne oaser af duftende mynte, øer hvor dine tankers skibe kan lægge til og lade op til endnu en dag. En underverden af flammer og sødme og lyst og hengemte drømme. Alt sammen skærmet fra verden af metalliske vægge dækket af is. Den eneste bro mellem drømmelandskabet i en Mint Julep og din trivielle virkelighed, er et strå der rækker som en bro direkte ned i det hinsides.

Kys mig, min elskede. Træng ind i mig og besid mig. Lad mig blive en del af dig og din totalitet, din evighed. Og kys mig, med dine iskolde læber af stål, kys mig med din pulversneånde, kys mig med fadlagret sødme og flammende hede.

Bartender – en Mint Julep mere, den her er tom.

Bartenderen tager et sølvkop fra skabet på væggen. Han ser på den med et langt og intenst blik. Han brydes med koppen, og vinder. En anelse knust is og nogle få mynteblade finder vej til bunden. Et enkelt stænk angostura bitter, og en smule sukker. Med en lang ske lader han isen drive olie fra myntebladene. Med en rask bevægelse, nærmest et piskesmæld med håndleddet, fyldes koppen med knust is, og et bredt mål Kentucky Bourbon følger efter. Han drejer overkroppen en anelse og i profil slår han med en skarp og præcis bevægelse fire myntegrene mod håndryggen og duften af mynte breder sig over baren. Et sugerør trænger sig vej ned i isen og mynten finder sig nærmest af sig selv til rette som en seng omkring sugerøret, og mens isen danner sig på sølvkoppens sider tager jeg fat i min kærlighed og spreder dens blade og kysser den længe og ømt.

Fik jeg sagt jeg godt kan lide en mint Julep?

Sune Urth, Ruby

Go to a spring where cool, crystal-clear water bubbles from under a bank of dew-washed ferns. In a consecrated vessel, dip up a little water at the source. Follow the stream through its banks of green moss and wildflowers until it broadens and trickles through beds of mint growing in aromatic profusion and waving softly in the summer breezes. Gather the sweetest and tenderest shoots and gently carry them home. Go to the sideboard and select a decanter of Kentucky Bourbon, distilled by a master hand, mellowed with age yet still vigorous and inspiring. An ancestral sugar bowl, a row of silver goblets, some spoons and some ice and you are ready to start.

These words from 1937 are S.B.Bruckner’s, and they concern a Mint Julep.

There are cocktails so full of history and tradition that a single sip works like a Petite Madeleine, an explosion of associations, a fall through history, sending you spinding through civil wars and silent movie kisses. There are cocktails that reach from your lips and hundreds of years back, over oceans and continents. That gather the world and let you sneak a peak at the totality that all history is written into.

Oh – crushed ice like powdered snow against your upper lip, and the nose buried in delicate green leaves. The sweetness from a well crafted bourbon supported by a hint of sugar, and everything comes together on the tip of your tongue while your fingers freeze on frozen silver. And even though it’s raining and it’s a quarter to five on a dead dull afternoon you know, deep inside, that you’re really seated on a porch in Kentucky and it’s just over noon.

Mint Julep – a small bite of southern summer served in a trophee. Cooton fields and horse racing and slavery, and it’s not all fun and games, but history is not a dance on roses, or rather it is, and they’re ripe with thorns, and you’re drinking death and lynchings and the battle of Gettysburg and lonely mothers waiting for sons who will never return.

And the only constant in this mish mash of history and misery and long summer days where jolly stallions pull more and more dirty sacks full of hastily perspiring caught attempts of escape, you can’t escape your colour boy, the only thing that never changes while the days grow long and girls loose their virginity and get rose cheeks, is the frost covered sides of a Mint Julep Cup.

The whole world is in that cup. Continents of crushed ice, barren landscapes, drinkscapes, rapidly melting tops and biting frost. Green oases of fragrant mint, islands where the ships of your thought can anchor and recharge for another day. An underworld of flames and sweetness and lust and moulding dreams. All walled off from the world by metallic wall covered in ice. The only bridge between the dreamscape of a Mint Julep and your trivial reality, is a straw reaching directly into the beyond.

Kiss me, my love. Enter me and possess me. Let me become part of you and your totality, your eternity. And kiss me with your ice cold lips of steel, kiss me with your powder snow breath, kiss me with casked sweetness and flaming heat.

Bartender – another Mint Julep please, this one is empty.

The bartender takes a silver cup from a cupboard on the wall. He looks at it with a long and intense stare. He wrestles the cup, and wins. A bit of crushed ice and a few mint leaves find their way into the bottom of the cup. A single dash of Angostura Bitters, and a hint of sugar. With a long spoon he lets the ice bruise oils from the mint. With a swift movement of the wrist, more a crack of a whip, he fills the cup with crushed ice and a generous pour of Kentucky Bourbon. He twists his torso and in profile he smacks four twigs of mint against the back of his hand with a sharp and precise sound, and the air in the bar changes and fills with minty fumes. A straw forces its way into the ice and the mint settles, as if by itself, as a bed around it, and while ice forms on the silvery sides I take possesion of my love, spread its leaves and kiss it long and tenderly.

Did I mention I really like a Mint Julep?

Sune Urth, Ruby

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