This requires the best of everything if you would have it in perfection. Especially the mint and the whiskey or brandy. Choose tender, quick-grown mint, leafy, not long-stalked and coarse, wash it very clean, taking care not to bruise it in the least, and lay in a clean cloth upon ice. Chill the spirits likewise. Put the sugar and water in a clean fruit jar, and set on ice. Do this at least six hours before serving so the sugar shall be fully dissolved. Four lumps to the large goblet is about right—with half a gobletful of fresh cold water.
At serving time, rub a zest of lemon around the rim of each goblet—the goblets must be well chilled—then half fill with the dissolved sugar, add a tablespoonful of cracked ice, and stand sprigs of mint thickly all around the rim. Set the goblets in the tray, then fill up with whiskey or brandy or both, mixed—the mixture is best with brands that blend smoothly. Drop in the middle a fresh ripe strawberry, or cherry, or slice of red peach, and serve at once. Fruit can be left out without harm to flavor—it is mainly for the satisfaction of the eye. But never by any chance bruise the mint—it will give an acrid flavor "most tolerable and not to be endured."
To get the real old-time effect, serve with spoons in the goblets rather than straws. In dipping and sipping more of the mint-essence comes out—beside the clinking of the spoons is nearly as refreshing as the tinkle of the ice.
From Dishes & Beverages of the Old South, by Martha McCulloch Williams, 1913