Infused with Joy

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Description: [Joy Perrine] calls her favorite citrus infusion, a "Bourjito," in parody of the rum "julep," the Mojito. She admits bourbon purists won't buy the infused sweeter alternatives to straight-up bourbon. "Sometimes I get flack for the things I do with bourbon," she jokes. But the opinions of purists don't bother this bartender, who describes herself as a "chamber of commerce" for Kentucky whiskey. "My mission is to help people who don't like bourbon, love it!"What does a seasoned award-winning bartender have to say about the most hallowed of Derby beverages, the mint julep? You might expect her to extol its virtues: the minty aroma or the slightly sweet/herbal flavors stirred into a generous helping of bourbon. Instead of praise for this annual ritualistic beverage, Joy says, "There is controversy over mint juleps." To which controversy does she refer? Whether to use simple syrup infused with mint leaves or confectioner's sugar muddled with mint? Whether to use chipped or shaved ice? Whether to use silver julep cups or Collins glasses? Whether to serve with a straw or without? None of the above. Joy explains: "A lot of people dislike this drink." The problem is that juleps made in mass quantities can taste "watered down and nasty." Part of the problem is the use of crushed ice, which melts too quickly. "At [Jack]'s we make juleps (one-at-a-time) with small ice cubes in a tall glass." And Joy recommends spearmint rather than field mint. "Spearmint has a mellower flavor." She says it is important to bruise the mint leaves by rubbing them gently between your fingers. "If you don't bruise the mint, (your drink) will smell like kitty litter."
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