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.
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?' "