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Mint Julep: A Refreshing Classic Cocktail

Mint Julep is a refreshing bourbon whiskey cocktail that is perfect for any occasion.

July 2, 2023
Mint JulepPhoto By Canva
Difficulty Easy
Servings 1 people
Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 0 mins
Total 5 mins


  • 8 leaves fresh mint
  • 2 1/2 ounces of bourbon whiskey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
  • Seltzer water
  • Crushed ice
  • Fresh mint sprig for garnish


  1. In a highball glass, gently muddle the mint leaves and sugar.
  2. Fill the glass halfway with crushed ice, then add a splash of seltzer water.
  3. Add the bourbon, then fill the rest of the glass with more crushed ice.
  4. Stir until the glass becomes frosty.
  5. Top off with another splash of seltzer water and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy your homemade Mint Julep!
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Mint Julep
Serves 1
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Sodium 1 mg0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • Use fresh mint leaves. Choose spearmint or Kentucky mint. They have a strong aroma and flavor that enhance the drink. Gently muddle the mint leaves to release their oils and aroma.
  • Use a high-quality bourbon that you love, as it's the only liquid in the drink.
  • A slightly higher-proof bourbon—something in the mid-80s or around 90—will keep the crushed ice from diluting the cocktail too quickly.
  • The Mint Julep is traditionally served in a rocks glass or, ideally, in a silver julep cup. Serve your Mint Julep in a traditional silver or pewter cup, known as a Julep cup. The metal cup helps keep the drink cold and enhances the overall experience. If you don't have a Julep cup, a highball glass or a sturdy glass tumbler will work well.
  • Crush the ice. Mint Juleps are traditionally served over crushed ice, which chills the drink and dilutes it slightly. Crushed ice also helps to create a frosty and refreshing texture. If you don't have crushed ice, you can crush regular ice cubes using a blender or place ice cubes in a clean towel and crush them with a rolling pin.
  • Firmly slap the mint sprig on the back of your hand before garnishing; this releases the oils to make the mint more aromatic.
  • Prepare a simple syrup by dissolving equal parts sugar and water over low heat. This sweetener blends well with the mint and bourbon. You can also infuse the simple syrup with a few mint leaves for an extra minty flavor.
Rate This Recipe

The Mint Julep is a classic cocktail that has become synonymous with the Kentucky Derby. However, its refreshing taste and simple preparation make it a drink that can be enjoyed all year round. This cocktail, with its unique blend of fresh mint, sweet bourbon, and crushed ice, is not only a delight to the taste buds but also a treat for the eyes with its vibrant green color and frosty appearance. Whether you're a seasoned cocktail enthusiast or a beginner, this Mint Julep recipe is sure to impress.

Discover the refreshing taste of the Mint Julep, the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby.

What Is A Mint Julep?

A Mint Julep cocktail is a classic beverage known for its refreshing and invigorating qualities. It is typically made with a combination of fresh mint leaves, bourbon whiskey, sugar, and crushed ice. The drink is often associated with Southern American culture, particularly Kentucky, where it has become a signature cocktail and is closely tied to the Kentucky Derby.

To make a Mint Julep, fresh mint leaves are gently muddled with sugar in the bottom of a glass or Julep cup to release their aromatic oils. This step is important as it helps to infuse the drink with the mint's refreshing flavor. Bourbon whiskey, which is a key ingredient, is then added to the glass and mixed with the mint and sugar. The mixture is stirred until the sugar is dissolved and the flavors are well combined. Finally, the glass is filled with crushed ice, which not only chills the drink but also creates a frosty and visually appealing presentation. A sprig of fresh mint is often used as a garnish to enhance the aroma and add a touch of elegance.

The Mint Julep cocktail is known for its balance of flavors, where the sweetness of the sugar complements the aromatic mint and the rich and smooth character of the bourbon. The crushed ice provides a cooling effect, making it an ideal choice for warm summer days or as a refreshing sipper during social gatherings.

What Is The Difference Between A Mint Julep And A Mojito?

While both the Mint Julep and the Mojito use mint and sugar, the main difference lies in the spirit used and their origins. A Mint Julep is traditionally made with bourbon and is associated with the Southern United States, particularly the Kentucky Derby. On the other hand, a Mojito is made with white rum and is a classic Cuban cocktail.

Why Are Mint Julep Cups So Expensive?

Mint Julep cups are often made of silver or pewter, which can make them more expensive than regular glassware. The use of these materials is traditional, and they are said to enhance the experience of the drink by keeping it cool.

What Bourbon Goes In A Mint Julep?

While any bourbon can technically be used in a Mint Julep, it's common to use a high-quality, full-bodied bourbon to balance the sweetness of the sugar and the freshness of the mint. Some popular choices include Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, and Maker's Mark.

What Is In A $1000 Mint Julep?

The $1000 Mint Julep is a special version of the cocktail that is served at the Kentucky Derby. It includes premium ingredients like Woodford Reserve bourbon, Moroccan mint, and sugar from the South Pacific. The cocktail is served in a gold-plated cup with a silver straw, and the proceeds from its sale go to charity.

What To Serve With Mint Julep?

Mint Julep, a classic and refreshing cocktail,can be served with Southern dishes, such as crispy fried chicken, flaky biscuits with honey butter, or tangy shrimp and grits. You can opt for light and refreshing appetizers like cucumber sandwiches, deviled eggs, or smoked salmon canapés. Serve this cocktail with grilled meats or vegetables. If you prefer a lighter option, try a vibrant fruit salad or a cheese and charcuterie platter.

Here are our delicious recipes that you can serve with Mint Julep:

History of Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is a cocktail that has a rich history and is deeply rooted in southern tradition. It's a drink that's synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, one of the oldest horse races in the United States. The Mint Julep has been the official drink of the Derby for nearly a century, and every year, almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two-day event at Churchill Downs. The cocktail's association with the Kentucky Derby has helped it gain popularity, but its origins go even further back.

The term 'julep' is derived from the Persian word 'julab', which means rosewater. The drink was originally used for medicinal purposes and was made with water and macerated rose petals. However, when the recipe made its way to the Mediterranean, the rose petals were replaced with mint, a common ingredient in the region. The Mint Julep as we know it today, made with bourbon, sugar, water, crushed or shaved ice, and fresh mint, was born in the southern United States, where mint was plentiful and bourbon was the local spirit.

Despite its association with the South, the Mint Julep was not always made with bourbon. In fact, it was originally made with cognac or rum. Bourbon became the spirit of choice for the Mint Julep in the mid-1800s when the phylloxera epidemic in France led to a shortage of cognac. Since then, bourbon has become the defining ingredient of the Mint Julep, giving the cocktail its distinctive rich and smoky sweetness that pairs perfectly with the freshness of the mint. Today, the Mint Julep stands as a symbol of southern hospitality, and its refreshing taste makes it a favorite summer cocktail.

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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