MWH to host ‘Music in the Gardens: Jazz & Juleps’

Todd Hoeft toasts a mint julep mocktail on the front porch of the McFaddin-Ward House museum in advance of the Music in the Gardens: Jazz and Juleps event, set for June 9. Photo by Andy Coughlan

What better way to spend a warm summer evening than lounging on a manicured lawn surrounded by friends and neighbors, listening to jazz while sipping on a cool Southern beverage? If that sounds idyllic, the McFaddin-Ward House is the place to be June 9, for “Music in the Gardens: Jazz and Juleps.”

The event is part of the McFaddin-Ward House Museum’s vision to provide community education and cultural enrichment, said public programming director Bel Morian.

“We’re just broadening our scope and opening our doors and our grounds more to this community,” she said. “It’s our purpose. The McFadden family was all about community and sharing and involvement. And within that, sharing their history. This area is so rich in history, and we want to continue to keep the younger set involved.”

The event is free and begins at 6:30 p.m. Morian said by that time, the sun has gone over the house creating more shade on the lawn. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own mint juleps, either full or mocktail, as well as picnic food and games.

Kara Timberlake, McFaddin-Ward House communication/marketing manager, toasts a mint julep mocktail on the front porch of the museum. Timberlake made the drink to practice for the “Music in the Gardens: Jazz and Juleps” event.

(At previous lawn events) we had kids running around on the lawn with bubble wands and Frisbees,” she said. “Some people rode their bikes. It was really cool to see all that. All different ages. Different groups of people from the community — it was a good thing.”

The concert, featuring former Lamar University president and local jazz legend Jimmy Simmons, will last about an hour and a half, Morian said, but visitors are welcome to stay a while after the music stops.

“We’re just going to let everybody bring their picnic baskets, drinks, chairs, whatever they want,” she said.

Todd Hoeft samples a mint julep mocktail on the front porch of the McFaddin-Ward House museum in advance of the “Music in the Gardens: Jazz and Juleps” event, set for June 9. Photo by Andy Coughlan

While Mint juleps are synonymous with the South, especially the Kentucky Derby, the bourbon and sugar concoction has its history in European medicine, where the sugar was mixed with herbs and spices. Nowadays, the instruction is to serve it “very cold,” which Morian said made juleps an obvious choice for the event.

“It’s a cool, summer drink to go with some cool, smooth jazz,” she said.

The Mcfaddin-Ward House was built in 1905 and the McFadden family moved in shortly thereafter, living there for 75 years before the house was turned into a museum in 1986.

“Events here are an extension of what the family would host if they were still here,” communication/marketing manager Kara Timberlake said. “They were known for being entertainers, for welcoming people into their home. So, we’re glad to be able to continue that legacy, to have people on the lawn listening to live music, enjoying drinks and enjoying each other’s company.”

The museum’s first floor will be open to visitors but there will not be official tours, Morian said.

“There’ll be a couple of docents to answer questions, but it’s just to whet (the visitors’) appetite to come back,” she said.

Kara Timberlake, McFaddin-Ward House communication/marketing manager, toasts a mint julep mocktail on the front porch of the museum. Timberlake made the drink to practice for the “Music in the Gardens: Jazz and Juleps” event, set for June 9. Photo by Andy Coughlan

With the COVID pandemic behind us and people looking to venture out socially again, Morian said the museum is trying to bring local history to life.

“We’re just trying to make this place vibrant and keep it busy,” she said. “I think that’s maybe where we can bring the younger person in, with music in the gardens. With the different events, we’re hitting different age groups.”

The McFaddin-Ward House museum is located at 1906 Calder Ave. in Beaumont. For more information, visit mcfaddin-ward.org or call (409) 832-2134.

CLASSIC MINT JULEP INGREDIENTS :

• 1.3 oz Bourbon

• .75 oz simple syrup or a teaspoon sugar

• 4 mint leaves and a sprig of mint

INSTRUCTIONS :

• Prepare very cold, very dry crushed ice with chunks of ice.

• “Bruise” or mash the mint leaves in the bottom of a julep cup with sugar syrup.

• Add ice to the three-quarter mark and half of the bourbon.

• Stir to chill the julep cup.

• Top off with more powdered ice and the remaining bourbon and continue to stir until the outside of the cup begins to freeze.

• Garnish with the mint sprig and set aside to rest while the julep cup freezes over on the outside.

MOCKTAIL MINT JULEP INGREDIENTS:

(makes 10 drinks)

• 3 cups Ginger Ale

• 1 ½ cups water

• 6 sprigs mint

• 1 cup lemon juice (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS :

• Boil water, sugar and mint – stir until sugar is dissolved.

• Cool. Remove mint.

• Add lemon juice if desired.

• Fill cup with ice.

• Add ¼ c of sugar mixture.

• Add ½ c of ginger ale.

• Garnish with mint.

(Recipes courtesy McFaddin-Ward House)

This story first ran in the June 3, 2022 Art of Living section of The Beaumont Enterprise.

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