Friday Happy Hour: The Mint Julep

Born and raised in the state of New York, I am a Yankee through and through – even though I now reside in the decidedly southern* city of Washington, DC.   That does not, however, preclude me from enjoying one of the South’s greatest culinary gifts to the world, the Mint Julep.

Read below for the full recipe!

The Mint Julep

2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz + 1-2 Dashes Simple Syrup
Fresh Mint
Powdered Sugar

Fill a highball glass or, better yet, a silver julep cup a third to half full with fresh mint leaves (the smaller the better as these are the most fragrant).  Add 1/2 oz simple syrup and muddle gently – press down firmly but don’t grind up the leaves. Discard the mint, pressing out as much of the sugar and mint oils as you can. Fill the glass halfway with crushed ice, then add your Bourbon and a dash or two more of simple syrup, to replace what you lost with the mint leaves. Top with more crushed ice until there’s a nice mound on top.  Garnish with a sprig of mint (slap it against your palm a few times first to release the fragrance).  Get your straw, give it a bit of a stir, and dust it with some powdered sugar.


Sip slowly on the veranda.

The Mint Julep is a deeply refreshing drink.  Your Julep should taste, first, of Bourbon, but also minty, sweet, smooth, and ice cold.  Don’t skimp on the mint, but use it wisely: discard the mint once muddled, and don’t over-do it by grinding up the leaves.  You want to bruise the leaves to extract the flavorful oils, not unleash the leaves’ powerful and not-too-pleasant underlying vegetal flavors (much less end up with mint in your teeth).  Stop once the leaves start to change from bright green to brown or black.

Do not settle for Juleps with a paltry handful of mint leaves or, worse, artificial mint syrup.  You’re better than that!


The Julep goes back over a thousand years as a macerated, flavorful concoction, intended as medicinal but with dubious effect.  But the Julep we know and love today began to take shape in the late 1700s, and David Wonrich traced the first mention of mint in a Julep to 1802.  The Mint Julep was once widely popular throughout the country and widely imbibed in the North and the South, city and country.  Some time over the last century or so, the Mint Julep came to be closely associated with the rural, agrarian South – but that’s no reason we can’t enjoy them wherever we happen to be.  Especially in the summer.  Especially on a veranda.

Does it have to be Bourbon?  To a Southerner, anything else might be heresy.  But the earliest Mint Juleps were more likely to be made with Brandy than Bourbon.  Play around with this one: equal parts Brandy and Rye could be amazing in a drink like this.

*If it’s south of the Mason-Dixon Line (the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania), it’s in the South.  QED.

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper

{happy weekend!}

Happy Friday everyone!  I don’t know if it’s the time of year, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about simplifying – getting back to the things that I really love (and that make me the most happy), and making more time in my daily and weekly routine to enjoy my city and hang out with friends.  This has meant letting go of a few projects and saying no to some other ideas.  I’ve also been on a mission to declutter our apartment, which is a huge challenge for a natural pack rat like me!  As difficult as these things can be, I feel a million pounds lighter with each step.  Do any of you go through stages like this?  Anyway, we have family visiting this weekend and I’m looking forward to exploring more of DC with them.  But in the meantime…

Magnolia garland and tiding wall decal by Shanna Murray

…a few links for your weekend:

  • Gorgeous illustrated notebooks
  • A pretty new print from Christine Wisnieski
  • Yum!
  • A fun DIY project: silkscreened placemats
  • DC-area folks, help Pyramid Atlantic celebrate its 31st birthday this Saturday!
  • Another one just for DC folks – but as a Capitol Hill resident, I’m really excited about this
  • Lynn from Satsuma Press is offering a fantastic deal on her beautiful letterpress calling cards.  Use code 6LSY8L to order 250 two-color calling cards for just $195 (a 40% discount!), or code ZEA68L for 10% off 100 two-color calling cards.  Offers are good through the end of April.

This week on Oh So Beautiful Paper:

As usual, we have a fun cocktail coming up for you this afternoon, so check back a bit later for the recipe!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday!  xoxo

Seasonal Stationery: Mother’s Day Cards

Can you guys believe that Mother’s Day is a month away?  This year is flying by – although that also means that my favorite week of the year (the National Stationery Show) is rapidly approaching!  There are a bunch of wonderful cards to help celebrate all of the wonderful moms in our lives, so today we’re starting with just a few of our favorites.

Quill and Fox

Baby Mama by Dude and Chick Thanks, Mom Letterpress Card by Printerette Press

Dude and Chick (left); and Printerette Press (right)

Mom Bouquet by Honizukle


Blooming Mother's Day Card by Rifle Paper Co. 

Rifle Paper Co.

Floret Letterpress

Most Loving Mother by Hammerpress Highest Quality Mother by Hammerpress


Tabletop Made

mom by Paper + Cup Mother's Day Map by Greenwich Letterpress

Paper + Cup (left); and Greenwich Letterpress (right)

 Happy Mother's Day letterpress card by spring olive

 Spring Olive

Mother's Day Toadstools by Wild Horse Press Mother / Daughter by Wild Horse Press

Wild Horse Press

Printable Mother's Day Card Gardena by e.m. papers

e.m. papers

{images via their respective sources}

*e.m. papers is a sponsor of Oh So Beautiful Paper

Classic Monogram Birth Announcements for Baby Rhett

Savannah-based stationer Emily McCarthy of emma j design recently welcomed her first child, an adorable baby boy named Rhett.  For the birth announcements, Emily stayed true to her Southern roots with a sophisticated design featuring a custom pattern and elegant monogram.  I’m absolutely in love with the tiny “Mc” detail in Rhett’s monogram – so cute!

From EmilyRhett’s birth announcement was inspired by a custom pattern that I designed while planning his nursery.  The pattern was created out of “R”s for Rhett and I wanted to give the hint of a celtic knot keeping true to our Irish heritage.


The double-sided announcement features Rhett’s pattern and a photo on the front, while the back displays a custom monogram design that has been used on his stationery as well as embroidered items like linens and clothing.  The announcement and corresponding envelopes were letterpress printed by Steve at Fireside Printing on 100% cotton Crane 220lb Lettra.

Thanks Emily!

Design: emma j design

Letterpress Printing: Fireside Printing

Photo Credits: emma j design

A Paper Marriage Proposal Pop-Up Book

You guys, this might just be the cutest thing ever.  Chris, a student in New York City, really wanted to propose to his girlfriend… so he worked with paper artist Jackie Huang to create a pop-up book with important elements from their relationship as part of his proposal.  Such a sweet idea – not to mention a wonderful keepsake!

From JackieI’m a recent graduate from Art Center College of Design and specialize in creating art with paper.  I create many forms of art with paper but am most known for my pop-up work.  Chris contacted me about doing a pop-up proposal book for his girlfriend, Julia.  Over the next few months, Chris and I worked together to figure out the key moments of their relationship to tell their story.  Chris figured out the moments and text to go along with them, and then I created the engineering and illustration to fit the idea.  I’m proud to say that Chris proposed on March 29 and Julia said yes!

Thanks Jackie!

Photo Credits: Jackie Huang