Cocktail Recipes

Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: Champagne Julep

May 1, 2009

I discovered this recipe for the Champagne Julep while poring over the historic drink book called 173 Pre-Prohibition Cocktails. It’s based on a circa 1917 book called The Ideal Bartender, written by Tom Bullock, an African American bartender who was well-known around St. Louis and Chicago for his Claret Punches, Free Love Cocktails and juleps of all sorts. Bullock was one of the first celebrity mixologists and definitely the first African American one. George Herbert Walker (as in the 41st president’s grandpa) was one of his devoted patrons and so was beer baron August Busch.

Bullock’s julep became part of a scandalous national libel case, when former president Teddy Roosevelt sued a newspaper editor for calling him a drunk unfit to hold another public office. Roosevelt testified under oath that he had only had two alcoholic drinks in his entire life, including a few sips of one of Bullock’s juleps.

Newspaper editorials didn’t buy it, writing that the only part of the drink Roosevelt probably left behind was the ice, the mint and the metal cup. The jury did though, and Teddy won his libel suit.

Champagne Julep

Makes 1 cocktail

8 fresh mint leaves

2 teaspoons sugar

1 ounce brandy

4 ounces champagne

sprig of mint, for garnish

Bruise the mint leaves by rolling them between your fingers. Add the sugar, bruised mint leaves, and brandy to a rocks glass. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Fill the glass three-quarters full with crushed ice. Pour on the champagne. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Photo credit: Paul Body

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  • Reply Steven Gdula May 1, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I like it – even though it’s bourbon-free! I also like the smart post. More food and drink writers need to provide this kind of perspective. Thanks for sharing! (I *dugg* – “digged?” – this, btw.)

  • Reply Robert-Gilles Martineau May 2, 2009 at 3:02 am

    Dear Matia!
    Greetings from Shizuoka, Japan!
    Love all those drinks with Champagne!
    After all it’s also a bit about my own country, France! LOL
    Now, do you know Cremant?
    Especially Cremont de Bourgogne?
    Cent for cent, it is better value than overrated Champagne!
    Cheers and all that!
    best regards,

  • Reply Mint Julep May 2, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    […] Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: Champagne Julep ( – May 01, 2009If you’re looking for something deliciously different to drink this Kentucky Derby day, try the Champagne Julep, a cocktail created by famed African American bartender Tom Bullock in the early 1900s. […]

  • Reply Marie Daniels ~ Shine Editor May 3, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Sounds Wonderful, Maria! I am going to have to try this one. I am looking for a new restaurant to try. Any suggestions?

    Marie Daniels
    Editor, the Shinepost

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