May 5, 2012

Magnolias and Mint Juleps

Today the Kentucky Derby will be run in Louisville.
I have never had the opportunity to actually go to the
"Run For The Roses" or, as it is also called,
"The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports"
but I do like to mix up a mint julep drink to watch the
horse race on TV.

The mint julep drink is THE drink associated with 
The Kentucky Derby and is also enjoyed by many
Southerners while we have fresh mint in our yards.

A few years ago when I decided to have a mint julep
while watching the race, I looked up the "recipe" .
It did not sound good to me so I "doctored it up" 
to my liking.  I have served my recipe to lots of
folks since and nobody complains or tells me it's not
a "real" mint julep.  In case you would like a mint julep
while you are watching the race today, here is my version:

Miss Kitty's Mint Julep
-2 ouncesof Southern Comfort or Bourbon
-2 ounces of water
-1 tablespoon Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice
-1 tablespoon  Simple Syrup
(you can make your own simple syrup with 1 part sugar/1 part water dissolved)
-Mint leaves

"Muddle" (crush) some of the mint leaves in a glass

Add shaved or crushed ice, then all remaining
 ingredients and stir well.
(The crushed mint leaves don't look so great in a clear glass but I can't find my silver
mint julep cup right now.  Maybe they use the silver cup to cover up the messy leaves.)

Stick a long enough sprig of fresh mint into the glass
so that when you take a sip, you will smell the mint

We served mint juleps at the cocktail portion of
my daughter's wedding.  Here are some photos from that:

Another Southern "event" going on now is
that the magnolia trees are in bloom.  Magnolia trees are
native to the United States from North Carolina down to
Florida and as far west as Texas.   They are transplated
in planting zones 6 - 10 now as landscape plants. 

The blooms are magnificent but they only last a few days
and then they are gone until next May.  Here are some
photos of the "life" of a magnolia bloom.

After the male upcurving stamens release their pollen to fertilize the female stamens
they drop off of the pineapple-like structure.  Many times they collect in the large
 cup-shaped white petals.

It has been almost 90 degrees many days of the magnolia bloom time. 
The flowers are so delicate that some of them are turning brown
in the heat even before they open up completely.

Differing type of magnolia trees have different-looking gynociums (the pineapple-looking thing).

After the bloom's petals fall off, the seed pod is left.

Reproduction is the primary function of the beautiful, short-lived magnolia flower. 
 This resulting pod will produce bright red seeds in the Fall which will mostly be
food for birds but some seeds will go on to be more magnolia trees for us to enjoy.


  1. Love the Derby and all that goes with it. Great recipe for the Mint Juleps. Super history about the magnolias too. Sure wish we could grow them in the desert. Hugs, Marty

  2. How pretty! Pa. doesn't grow them either I think, I never see them in yards around here, they are beautiful though:)

  3. Hi, I'm Connie at, your new GFC friend. I would love it if you stop by and be mine, too.
    Living here in south, we get the great pleasure of smelling the Magnolias. They smell so wonderful.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.
    Hope your horse wins!

  4. Oh- I love the Derby. I haven't seen a mint julep since moving North!

    I love magnolias, too, and had them in our yard when we lived in FL. Great post- xo Diana

  5. Beautiful images! Love the Magnolias and they mint julep recipe looks wonderful. I am growing mint - spearmint and chocolate mint right now and I need to put them to use. I will have to try this!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!


  6. I can smell the magnolias ummmmmm, and I can smell that Southern Comfort too.... ummmmmmmm.


  7. Those magnolia pics are gorgeous!! And the recipe also sounds delicious, would love to leasurely sip a Mint Julep now instead of feeding cats, dogs, chickens and child, how all get hungry just when my batteries also run flat :-).
    southern comfort and lime juice is my all time favorite combination.
    have a wonderful day

  8. Can I just come hang out in your backyard? Your juleps sound delish...probably because I LOOOOVE Mojitos and your recipe is similar. And I also absolutely LOOOVE magnolias! There are some varieties that will grow here in Colorado and I'm currently looking for one for my backyard. :)

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