Thursday, July 5, 2012

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Oh, Belvedere! My First Memory of a Mint Julep

My ancestors never saw a mint julep, 
but they sipped five-day-old likker 
 out of ceramic jugs and Bell jars 
until they could not remember 
their Christian names.

~ Rick Bragg 
All Over But The Shoutin' 

My hometown of Kansas City, Missouri is, a generous drinks geographer might allow, on the outer periphery of mint julep territory. While juleps were not regular offerings, they did show up from time to time. Consequently, I acquired at an early age a fondness for these refreshing concoctions of whiskey and ice; certainly by the time I was working on undergraduate degrees, making one had become second nature.

Charlie Dog enjoys a julep
A recent viewing of the 1950 Warner Brothers cartoon Dog Gone South made me realize that my exposure to them came at a younger age than I first suspected. I must have seen it when I was five or six years old. The cartoon concerns the obnoxious Charlie Dog and his efforts to endear himself to a diminutive Confederate colonel. The colonel, alas, already has a dog, a certain Belvedere.

Charlie's minty repast on the veranda is short-lived. But the silver cup he commandeers from the colonel seemingly instilled in me a life-long appreciation for juleps. I'm beginning to understand why I like bulldogs, too...

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