It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere

13/05/12 10:11 PM

While I can’t tell you the name or location of this plantation, I can tell you an interesting story from the plantation’s past. When I started researching the house, I was able to talk to several of the locals who live near the plantation. One gentleman, whose family had owned a neighboring plantation for generations, allowed me to come to his home to look around and to hear about the plantation we are working to open. One of the past owners of our plantation was a family member from his family and he shared a personal story that had been passed down through the generations.

In the 1800s this gentleman’s ancestors purchased our plantation. They were a very prominent family in the area. Three of the owner’s family also owned other plantations in the area. It was a custom for this family to come together for afternoon drinks before dinner. Below is the story as it was handed down:

“Mr. ‘W.A.R.’ who attended the ‘T’ Family reunion in 1948, told the story of how his Uncle ‘C.T.’, ‘Prince’ of our plantation, Cousin ‘G.T.’, ‘Duke’ of his plantation, Cousin ‘R.T.’, ‘Count’ of his plantation and Cousin ‘W.P.’, ‘Earl’ of his plantation used to get together in the afternoons at their plantations for a social mint julep and congenial discussion of current affairs.

But they had a rule that they would never touch their mint juleps until the stroke of five o’clock. On one occasion at our plantation as they sat looking at their watches restlessly waiting for the appointed time, Cousin ‘G.T.’ said that by his watch it was exactly five o’clock and proceeded to take a sip of his mint julep. Cousin ‘C.T.’ said it was only two minutes till five and thereupon arose a furious discussion of the relative accuracy of their watches. So intense the argument grew that the party broke up and they did not speak again for months.”

How you ever heard the saying, “It’s five o’clock somewhere”?

In the Victorian period, it was improper to drink before five o’clock. That is why there was such a dispute about the time in this story. So in keeping with this tradtion, our bed and breakfast will have a social hour at 5pm (exactly) each day. This will be a Wine and Cheese Reception, but we will also have mint juleps each day so that we can keep this family history alive.

Mint Julep

Tonight, for mother’s day, we went to a favorite restaurant for dinner. It was a little busy so we decided to sit at the bar. While there, we asked the bartender about how a mint julep was made. Angel, the bartender, was nice enough to show me how to make it. Surprising it was very easy!

You take some mint leaves and sugar and muddle them in a tumbler. Angel told me that you should rinse the pestle with soda water in the glass to rinse off the mint leaves (don’t fill the glass, just a light rinse). This releases the essential oils and juices into the drink. Then you add a jigger of good bourbon (he suggests Maker’s Mark) and fill the glass with crushed ice. Then fill the rest of the glass with soda water. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

From my reading about mint juleps, I learned that the drink is traditionally served in a silver or pewter cup and is held at the bottom or top of the cup to allow a frost to form on the outside of the cup. This also helps to prevent the heat from your hand from transferring to the cup and warming your mint julep.


Thanks Angel for your expert instruction!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 61 Comments »

61 Comments on “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”

  1. steverossman Says:

    Nicely done! Do you want subscribers? Couldn’t find a way to do that.

  2. Thank you! Okay I’m kind of new at this. I will have to look at how to make a way for your to subscribe. Check back soon!

  3. PB Rippey Says:

    So funny–we were at the San Diego Wild Animal Park over the weekend and I overheard a woman walking by us say, “What’s in a mint julep, anyway?” I couldn’t have answered her and was going to Google when I got home, but of course completely forgot. Now I know!!! Mystery solved and sounds like an authentic recipe.

  4. Now that is cool! I had my first mint julep at Oak Alley Plantation outside of New Orleans. It was very good. They are really refreshing.

  5. amblealong Says:

    I LOVED visiting Oak Alley, and have been surprised to find it show up on a number of PBS shows about New Orleans! My mint julep there was awesome, too!

  6. We would love to go back there and see it again! It was so beauitful!

  7. clover58 Says:

    Serving at exactly 5:00, enjoying the drink with friends — cannot get better than that! It’s nice to keep traditions alive.

  8. Thank you! It was one of the best personal stories I have uncovered so far. And the drink is great too!

  9. What a great saying – 5 o’clock somewhere! Glad to hear you’ll be keeping up the tradition.

  10. Thank you! It has been one of the stories we have uncovered in our research of the plantation. Now it can be shared again!

  11. It’s 5 o’clock in France all the time!

  12. Haha! I have never been there, but my husband has when he was in the navy. I think you are right!

  13. Sante! (cheers)!

  14. It’s 6:30 here right now But it’s in the a.m… is that OK?

  15. Well, as they say, It’s Five O’Clock somewhere. And if you read the past comments, in Frances, it’s always 5 o’clock! haha

  16. wineonmymind Says:

    Great post – looks like I’ll be mixing up some of these. Perfect for a summer afternoon on the deck or porch.

  17. We agree! We can’t wait to serve these at our place soon!

  18. My friends own a distillery called “It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere.”

  19. How cool!

  20. Lissa Rabon Says:

    Love your story! I have never been to Virginia but love being from the South. Those southern traditions reach way over here to Texas as well. In Kenya, they call them,”Sundowners” only the cocktail of choice is usually a gin and tonic. Great post!

  21. Thank you! I’ve never heard them called that but its a cool name! I use to live really close to Texas and remember it as being strong in Southern traditions! Thank for stopping by! Hope you stop by again!

  22. I remember my grandparents had a clock on which every number was 5. Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ll be back to yours!

  23. Haha! That is cool! I guess in their house it was always 5! Thank you for stopping by and making me smile! We look forward to seeing more of yours as well!

  24. I didn’t realize before how similar a mint julep is to a mojito, the Cuban rum drink with cane sugar and soda water/seltzer. At Stonebridge Farm, we grow a certain curly mint for mojitos in the summer. Good luck with your B&B!

  25. Thank you! We are hoping to put in a kitchen garden and mint is one of the plants we want. What curly mint do you use?

  26. This is so crazy. When I read the title of this post mint julep was my first thought. I have a patch of mint in front of the house and I think I’ll have to cut some and make a couple of mint juleps at 5 tomorrow 😉 thanks for the reminder! Now I can’t wait…

  27. Now remember, not a minute before! 😉

  28. ladyredspecs Says:

    We have beer o’clock in Austalia!

  29. Now I don’t think I have ever heard of that one!

  30. Jamie Rawson Says:

    I am put to mind of my favorite mint julep tale which has been in my family for almost a century. My grandfather Galvin accompanied the 1928 U.S. Men’s fencing team to Amsterdam for the Summer Olympics. He made the acquaintance of François Dariélle, a French Fencer who expressed an appreciation for things American. Bill Galvin therefore determined one afternoon to make M. Dariélle a proper mint julep. Bourbon having been brought from the U.S., and mint being abundantly available locally, this was easily effected.

    Upon being served this distinctly American potion, correctly garnished with an ample sprig of fresh mint, M. Dariélle exclaimed, “Bill! If I had wanted a salade, I would have asked for a salade!!!”

    I think of this every time I compose a julep …


  31. That is a great story! I just love personal history stories! They have such meaning and life! I hope as we do more research and meet others, we will have more to tell! Thank you for stopping by!

  32. belocchio Says:

    I have the silver cup. I have masses of mint growing outside my kitchen door. (I also have Edward Bun poking his twitching nose into the herbs). I am making a mint julep. You’ve driven me to it. Virginia

  33. Hurrah! You know I have been looking for just the right silver cups! I know it when I see them. The one that was made for us was in a tumbler glass. It just wasn’t the same. What would Scarlett say!

  34. belocchio Says:

    You know what Scarlett would say. After she ripped down the curtains and whipped up a seductive dress – I’ll think about that tomorrow. Meanwhile do you think I should spell Tara with a big T or a small t. Virginia

  35. Haha!

  36. P. K. Newby Says:

    Thanks for the visit to Play a Good Knife and Fork and the like on my recent post on farmers’ markets. Love this post & great to know the origins of this expression. Which I often find comes in handy. 😉 Cheers, PK

  37. Thank you! We love Farmer’s Markets. Fresh and local is always best! I have had several people tell me that about this saying! 😉

  38. sarahsjoys Says:

    Fun! I had my first Mint Julep in New Orleans at the very bar where my grandma would go in the 40’s. Maybe I need to make some for the next Champagne Thursday! 🙂

  39. Yum! That sound good! We had our first mint julep at Oak Alley Plantation in LA. It was really good. And being surrounded by that historic plantation was awesome. We hope our mint juleps will leave the same feeling for others at our plantation!

  40. Nader Nazemi Says:

    Great blog.

  41. Thank you! We are following too!

  42. bmmcmillan64 Says:

    Five-oclock-somwhere!! Love Jimmy Buffett so this caught my eye right away. Looks like you have an amazing B&B with equally amazing food – the breakfast blog was too much! Thanks for visiting my blog so I could stop by and see yours. Would love to get away with my wife to you folks. You are not too far away so who knows….

  43. Thank you for stopping by ours! Maybe you and your wife can come join us for a few mint juleps… at 5 sharp!

  44. What a great story! This is all so interesting to me. I plan to find out more about the people who owned and built my home. It is not nearly as old as yours nor does it have such a colorful history I’m sure but I love to learn about these sorts of things. Thank you for visiting my blog, I hope to be able to find some information to post there similar to this story you’ve shared some day!

  45. That is great! We have hoped that we would inspire others to do their own research. It is so much fun to find out who has been there! Thank you for stopping by and we hope to see you!

  46. […] Such interesting posts found on, so far I’ve read this and this. […]

  47. Thank you so much for sharing our blog with your readers! We hope that they will come along with us on this journey!

  48. Absolutely! I can’t wait to read more posts from your blog, it’s wonderful.

  49. Thank you! We are sure to have many, many more!

  50. There’s the Lorca poem ‘ five o’clock in the afternoon’…
    Great to read about a ritual being preserved.

  51. I haven’t heard about that poem. I will have to see if I can find it! Thank you for letting us know and thank you for stopping by! We hope you will join us on this journey!

  52. You have whetted my appetite for a mint julep…enjoyed your very interesting blog….thanks for stopping by mine and I’ll be sure to drop back on you.

  53. Thank you! We hope one day you might stop by and have one of our mint juleps for real! We also look forward to seeing more of your blog! Don’t forget to check out our Getaway Give Away!

  54. iknead2knit Says:

    Good post. Thanks for reading mine.

  55. Thank you! We love reading others blogs! We learn so much and it can lead us ideas! Thank you for stopping by!

  56. spicerack Says:

    Great post!

  57. Thank you! They taste great too! 😉

  58. Never have had a Mint Julip. I want to have one at your B&B. it looks splendid.

  59. Thank you! I am in search of just the right mint julep cups (silver) to serve them in!

    Will you help us Save our History?

  60. I never drink alcohol unless I’m alone or with somebody.

  61. Well I guess that means you would fit in perfect with us at 5pm each day! 🙂
    ~Michelle & Brett