Like all iconic drinks, the Mint Julep has a long and storied history. In the 1700s, British explorers made a habit of mixing the fermented spirits of any indigenous sweet crop with botanicals. They probably went about this for two reasons 1) alcohol as rum or port wine had long been the currency of the open oceans and 2) A spoonful of these test concoctions helped the mostly bitter and nasty medicines of the day go down. The results of these experiments has ecoched down the years with famous outcomes like the juniper berry-infused gin and the rum and ginger-based Dark n' Stormy. From those same experiments came the Mint Julep.
The English were not only good explorers, they documented their discoveries well. Whoever writes down history, owns it and so whatever the actual genesis of this drink, the written record is English. The word "julep" is possibly a Spanish/Arabic expansion of “julepe” or rosewater. It also appears that the word is associated with a sweet drink and as a vehicle for medicine. The rosewater connection is not totally clear, but sweet alcoholic mixtures as a medicinal carrier fits and by the 1700s there are references to mint julep as an emetic (see our recent blog on Motion Sickness) and references to the citizens of Virginia sipping on this “spirituous liquor.”
By the 1800s, the British seafaring captain Frederick Marryat’s writs of his favorite recipe for a Mint Julep with mint, sugar and peach brandy over ice with the rim of the glass rubbed with pineapple (this actually sounds delicious). It would seem that Mint Juleps were more a class of drinks based on sugar and mint with a spirit from brandy to gin. But eventually the good folk of Virginia and Kentucky helped make Bourbon the dram of choice and the Mint Julep became an iconic American drink.
By 1938 Kentucky had established deep strength in horses and bourbon. In a great piece of marketing, the Brown-Forman Corporation, a strong spirit distributor, got together with the Churchill Downs horse track and the Mint Julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. The story of how silver or pewter cups came to be used also has many versions.
Today most Mint Juleps are served in a highball glass or tumbler. The rest they say is a combination of big smiles, bigger hats, happy time, late nights and shaky next mornings. We think there's still room for this iconic drink to evolve. Our Ginger Syrup is the perfect next step. Slow-steeped organic ginger, organic molasses, organic raw cane sugar and lemons with bourbon and fresh mint have layers of flavor. Smoky, sweet, warm, fresh and delicious. It's available in party-sized 45 oz, 11.3 oz hip flasks and the perfect picnic size for 2-4 drinks.
Let's start with a few dictionary definitions. I'm going to use the word "vomiting" (1) only four times because I don't know now about you but even the saying the word "vomiting" (2) will make me want to (refer to Mr. Barf).
"Nausea - definition: a stomach distress with distaste for food and an urge to vomit (3). I'm not even going to use up my last time with a definition of what comes next. We kind of all know what that means. All jokes aside, when this happens to you, it is anything but amusing. But there's a lot you can do to stop it before it ever starts.
There are a number of things that can cause nausea including food poisoning, a bad taste or smell, fear, drug interactions such as chemotherapy, and motion sickness.
For this conversation, we are going to focus on motion sickness.
NASA is one group that has spent a lot of time studying motion sickness. As a pilot or team member in a critical flight or space mission, motion sickness is not just an inconvenience, it can be life threatening.
James Locke, flight surgeon at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, has been studying the causes of motion sickness. In a recent Scientific American article, he said of his research:
"Despite decades of research, scientists are still not sure exactly why motion sickness occurs—or how. The currently accepted theory is that sensory conflict is to blame.
"Information from both our visual and vestibular systems is processed by the brain to match it all up. Your vestibular system—your inner ear—is tuned to a terrestrial, 1G environment," Locke says. "When you move [yourself] around, changes in your vestibular system match up with what you're seeing. But [riding] in an airplane or car, your inner ear signals that you're moving, but your eye says you're sitting still" because your body is not moving in relation to its immediate environment—such as the seat you're sitting in, the back of the seat in front of you and the floor beneath your feet.
From reviewing a good cross-section of scientific literature it also seems that motion sickness impacts each of us differently. Perhaps 1/3 of people are unaffected. Unfortunately for those who suffer from migraines, they are also more prone to suffer from motion sickness. For others, it depends on the circumstances and someone not usually impacted can suddenly succumb to nausea and vice versa. In addition, there are ways to reduce nausea and as it turns out ways to reduce the likelihood that nausea progresses to vomiting (4th and I'm done).
There are both positive actions we can take and foods, supplements, and drugs that act to reduce the feeling of motion sickness and the unfortunate end result if left unchecked.
Adaption - in many tests people can be trained to reduce motion sickness. Exposure to small and increasing levels of motion can allow people to reduce and delay nausea. I think that if you are a pilot, a professional fisherman, or astronaut this is probably a good idea, but if you are taking a flight or a vacation cruise or are a passenger in a car or bus, adaption therapy may not work for you.
Sync your senses - Since motion sickness is linked to times when our eyes are not in sync with the inner ear, then try and get them back in sync. Try closing your eyes, go to sleep or get where you can see the horizon.
Drugs - There are prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements that have proven effective for motion-related nausea. These include Dramamine and scopolamine among others. While they have shown positive effects, they come with side effects including drowsiness and dry mouth.
Ginger - (botanical name Zingiber officinale) is harvested from the edible underground roots or rhizomes of the perennial, herbaceous plant. Ginger takes around 10 months to grow in subtropical climate conditions. The ginger roots are a complex blend of many bioactive compounds including gingerols and shogaols, which give ginger its warm taste, and resins and oils that give ginger its distinctive aroma. Both sets of compounds have a part to play in reducing motion sickness.
Ginger has undergone extensive testing (and 5,000 years of cultivation and consumption) including peer-reviewed, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials (the best standard) for a wide range of conditions that lead to nausea. Some investigations have shown strong impacts on nausea, some have shown it to be at least as effective as the leading drugs, but without the side effects, and some have failed to show effectiveness. As we now better understand the variation in nausea from person to person and across time, this is not surprising.
The exact method of nausea relief is not fully understood, but it does appear that ginger affects the tone and motion of the stomach together with a number of key pathways that cause a positive effect by their impact on the brain and nervous system.
The consensus is that ginger is recognized as safe and prevents and relieves nausea and vomiting (oops, an extra one) caused by motion sickness.
Ginger is available fresh, pickled, candied and as cookies, tea blends, preserves, ginger ales and supplements. Each has a different level of ginger and in addition the ratio and absolute levels of gingerols and shogaols. Shogaols tend to be higher in dried ginger, and in studies, shogaols may have a large anti-nausea impact.
There is no established FDA Daily Value for ginger, however, many of the clinical trials use a daily dose of 700-1000 mg of dried ginger powder. With this as a guide, it would equate to the following:
Try to take the ginger 30 minutes to an hour before travel.
Ginger Side Effects - ginger is a potent bioactive spice. Pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, people on blood thinners and other prescription drugs should seek medical advice before use.
Disclaimer - This information has not been evaluated or approved by the FDA and is not necessarily based on scientific evidence from any source. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor.
We were having a great time serving Sparkling Turmeric Dusted Baby Ginger and Bourbon and Ginger cocktails at Lucy's Market in Atlanta, GA, decked out with holiday cheer the week before Christmas.
"...wonder what these would taste like together" asked Leslie M. Seemed like an innocent enough question.
Answer is "Oh, wow - I have to serve this at my New Year's party!"
At last, an answer to the question, "what happens when tailgate meets little black dress?" Meet "The Lucy" champagne cocktail. Warm, light, spicy and refreshing. Your favorite sparkling wine (or sparkling water for the designated driver) with a shot of Bourbon and Ginger Syrup.
The perfect winter celebration champagne cocktail. A wonderful complement to a cheese board or savory dip. With an easy pre-mixed shot (delicious by itself) and glasses with a jewel of Turmeric Dusted Baby Ginger in the bottom, the Lucy is ready to go as soon as guests arrive.
VERDANT KITCHEN PRODUCTSGinger Syrup Turmeric Dusted Baby Ginger
Plantains are delicious, but often when served fried they can be a bit heavy. We've created an easy oven-roasted recipe that provides the flavor you want, but with a lot less oil and mess.
The Turmeric Infused Honey enhances the golden color of the plantains and gives a sweet, crisp glaze. It adds turmeric's anti-inflammatory benefits to the naturally high levels of fiber, Vitamin C (antioxidant), Vitamin A, B6 and minerals. Great tasting too!
Verdant Kitchen Products in this Recipe
Verdant Kitchen Products in this Recipe
Multiple studies of compounds that reduce inflammation seems to show very broad impacts on our health. These studies have documented reductions in cardiovascular disease and cancer - two of the largest causes of premature death and significant negative impacts on quality of life.
The latest of these studies was recently published in the Gastroenterology Journal of the American Gastroenterology Association. This broad population-based study compared the cancer risk of over 600,000 people who have taken aspirin for at least 6 months (note the average aspirin user had taken it for 7.7 years) with non-aspirin users. This 10-year study showed that after correcting for a wide range of factors, the occurrence of digestive-system cancers showed significant reductions.
The study was released in 2016 by the Harvard Medical School Women's Health Study and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. The randomized double-blind study followed 33,000 women, and the "Alternate-Day, Low-Dose Aspirin and Cancer Risk: Long-Term Observational Follow-up of a Randomized Trial" also showed that long-term use of aspirin showed a risk reduction of colorectal cancer of 20% in healthy women.
The risk reductions occur over a long time use of aspirin.
Similar studies appear to point to the impact of down modulation of inflammation. The long-term reduction in inflammation may be resulting in the reduction of the development of a wide range of cancers and other diseases.
This is perhaps the biggest takeaway from this building body of large-scale clinical and observational studies - long-term inflammation appears to be at the center of many diseases. The modulation of inflammation, a naturally occurring and critical body function, is a key part of maintaining strong active lives.
Aspirin, first extracted from the bark of Willow trees, is one of many naturally occurring compounds that can impact inflammatory responses in our bodies. Other studies of diets rich in foods high in other naturally occurring healthful compounds have also shown high impacts to health and wellness. This includes diets that include daily intake of:
- a diverse collection of green leafy vegetables
- fruits and spices such as Apples, Grapes, Turmeric, Ginger, Green Tea
"The findings demonstrate that the long-term use of aspirin can reduce the risk of developing many major cancers," reported lead study author Kelvin Tsoi.
A word of warning. Refined compounds and high-dose supplements are not without risks. Aspirin has also been linked to intestinal bleeds. As always, consult your medical professional and understand the risks and benefits.
None of the statements on this website should be construed as dispensing medical advice nor making claims regarding the cure of diseases. You must listen to your body and use common sense to avoid injury.
You should consult a licensed healthcare professional before starting any supplement, dietary, or exercise program, especially if you are pregnant or have any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions.
I had an excellent time in Texas in the Central Market stores. Such a great team of associates and Foodies. Passionate and knowledgeable people, great selection of the best food. Shopping should be an experience for all of the senses.
Thanks to the Central Market teams.
Ginger Preserve with Lemon - the perfect pairing cheese. I also love Salmon glazed and then baked with this delicious spicy preserve.
One of the great joys of food is being creative, of being unique.
The "small plate" takes many forms. The Spanish "tapas," the Mexican "bocas," the French "charcuterie," the Chinese "dim sum" all celebrate the art of arrangement and of contrast.
When we think of "cheese boards," we typically think of a flight of cheeses perhaps arranged by region or style or type of base milk. Often these plates have some fruit or preserve to complement or contrast.
At the recent Institut du Fromage training meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, meeting host Michael Landis of Gourmet Foods International took the concept up a level of creativity. In this expression of creativity, the focus was on pairings. Each with a cheese style at its core, but each one designed to complement and contrast prime flavor, flavor taste sequence, aroma and textures.
Clearly each of the presentations could have been presented on a cheese board as a highlight, as an appetizer or amuse bouche, or as a side dish in any course of the meal.
It taught me three things:
1. Be brave and experiment
2. Think about texture as well as flavor
3. You eat with your eyes first, then your nose, and finally your mouth. Each brings something to the experience.
Our pairing was as simple as it was delicious.
1 teaspoon plain goat cheese rolled in a ball
Use the Savannah Snap as a base and stage. Place the ball of goat cheese in the center and top with the Ginger Preserve with Lemon. Garnish with the Ginger Bites.
Tasting Notes and Pairings:
Consider a Pinot Noir or drier Riesling.
The Savannah Snap gives a crunch and crumb. You taste the Ginger Preserve first and then the creaminess of the goat cheese. They combine to give you a long, clean and warm flavor. EXTRA INFO: Many of the compounds in Ginger that provide its distinctive citrus and warm spices notes are fat soluble. The fat in cheese impacts these compounds and the combination in your mouth releases a cascade of delicious flavors and aromas.
Here's a short video of the team constructing these delicious pairings.