Faulkner’s Mint Julep

Photo from jeffhaanen.com
Photo from jeffhaanen.com

Throughout centuries, writers have shown a fondness for indulging in the occasional libation or ten. The goal of this weekly blog post is to highlight a particular drink or cocktail that an author preferred, and why the drink is important to his or her life/work.

*Disclaimer* We at the Jet Fuel Review do not promote the use of alcohol. This blog is for educational purposes.

William Faulkner was known to drink while he wrote, claiming, “I usually write at night. I always keep my whiskey within reach.” The author’s preferred cocktail was the mint julep, which has a strong bourbon base. Bourbon, being almost exclusively produced in Kentucky (many argue bourbon can only come from Kentucky), became a popular spirit throughout the Southern United States, which is where the mint julep was created.

Faulkner, being from Mississippi, probably took a liking to the mint julep due to its prevalence. The high alcohol content and the tendency for the drinker to sip it more slowly over a longer period of time than other cocktails may have also made it a refreshing drink for Faulkner to keep nearby when writing. Faulkner’s fondness for the mint julep is apparent in his owning of a cup specifically used for the cocktail, which is traditionally served in a metal cup.

The author drank throughout much of his adult life; in one event, he burned his leg on a radiator after blacking out. After suffering injuries in a horse-riding accident, Faulkner’s drinking increased and he began taking other medication to alleviate the pain. The author died of a heart attack in 1962. Although Faulkner’s drinking had a severe impact on his life and those around him, those libations were likely with him when he wrote his most famous works.

— Grant Mazan, Assistant Poetry Editor

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