30 May

Mint Julep Day

Mint Julep Cocktail

So we are drinking a...

Mint Julep Cocktail

The Kentucky Derby ended a while back - but, with summer on its way, this is a great opportunity to celebrate Mint Julep Day. Even if students at New College Oxford celebrate it on June 1st, and many others consider it a part of the Kentucky Derby.

Because the Mint Julep, a drink that has inspired one of the worst poems known to man (Charles Fenno Hoffman's The Mint Julep), spawned sickly pre-mixes and been routinely mangled the world over, is, when well-made, with lots of ice, an absolutely stunning drink.

Despite the fact that its name ultimately derives from the Persian for rosewater (gulab), the Mint Julep is also an American classic - most likely originally consumed as a morning stiffener [history of Juleps]. So... bash up some ice, grab your finest mint and your silveriest julep cup, and get mixing. Be sure to serve it super-cold - it's really not the same drink if it's melted.

It's also the anniversary of the discovery of Krypton

On this day in 1898, two chemists went looking for gases related to helium and discovered a mysterious substance that glowed yellowish-green when pumped into an induction coil and heated - a new element.

As they had found it quite extraordinarily elusive, they called their element Krypton, from the Greek word meaning 'hidden'. And so matters rested, with Krypton of little interest to anyone but scientists, until, 40 years later, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster went looking for a home planet for their new superhero, Superman. The name they chose? Krypton, of course.

But, while an astrophysicist has recently found a location for Krypton, no one has yet found kryptonite. Some miners found a compound that came close to the description of kryptonite-bearing rock, but sadly, scientists did not allow them to call it kryptonite because it did not contain krypton, so they called it Jadarite.

We are toasting the joys of comic books, if not chemistry, with a krypton-coloured drink, the Green Swizzle. Too many can have an effect not dissimilar to kryptonite.

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