When New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian mixes mint juleps at Bar UnCommon, he recites an ode, written in the 1890s by a Kentucky newspaperman, that calls the cocktail "the zenith of man's pleasure—the very dream of drinks."
Jennifer Zerboni likes to tinker with the classic mint julep during horse-racing season. She used to flavor this julep with a mint granité, but that proved "too sticky and messy." Now she makes the drink with mint simple syrup.
Parsley Gin Julep
Bartender Alan Walter remembers the genesis of this refreshing drink: "It was summer. I had already used up the restaurant's supply of fruit and was looking for a new ingredient. Half an hour later the chef, Ian Schnoebelen, asked, 'Hey, what did you do with the parsley?' "
Adding blackberries to a mint julep adds fruity flavor to the classic warm-weather cocktail.