Classic Mint Julep Recipe

Overhead shot of two mint juleps

This classic Mint Julep recipe is the perfect Kentucky Derby Cocktail. Learn about the best bourbon to use, its ingredients and history. 

Looking for other Derby Day party food or drinks?  For an alternative drink, try these Classic Gin & Tonics, Jam Cocktails in Mason Jars, or White Wine Sangria

For some amazing Derby Day appetizers, try my Pimento Cheese Arancini, Stuffed Cherry Peppers Wrapped with Bacon, Ham and Cheese Pinwheels with “Everything” Bagel Seasoning or Filet Mignon Bites with Creamy Horseradish Sauce. 

This post is for all my bourbon lovers out there. I know there’s a big handful of you out there. And while I’m more of a vodka girl, I’m all about partaking in a classic mint julep when the Kentucky Derby rolls around each year. 

And, year after year, I’ve set myself out to making the best mint julep recipe. With feedback from friends, I’m confident that I’ve mastered this classic cocktail. And I’m here to share my technique with you today! 

First thing’s first… 

Why does the Kentucky Derby Have a Mint Julep? 

What Alcohol is in Mint Julep?

  • Bourbon Whiskey 

What is the Best Bourbon for a Mint Julep?

Since bourbon is the only liquid in the drink, you want to be sure to use a bourbon that you love. It’s recommended that you choose a bourbon that is around 100-proof since as the ice melts, your drink will become more diluted. However, you also don’t want to use your most expensive bourbon, for this same reason. 

Here are some of the best bourbons for the Mint Julep, that come in at under $40 a bottle: 

  • Woodford Reserve: vanilla, butterscotch, smoke, oak (the official bourbon used at the Kentucky Derby) ($33)
  • Four Roses Single Barrel: pear, cherry, toffee ($40)
  • Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon: vanilla, orange, pepper ($20) 
  • Wild Turkey Rare Breed: oak, fruit, butterscotch  ($40) 
  • Pure Kentucky XO: vanilla, cedar, cherry, oak ($40) 
  • Old Bardstown: caramel, orange, pine ($35)
  • Maker’s Mark: vanilla, caramel, brown sugar (a lighter option a 90-proof) ($25) 

Side view of mint julep against dark background

Mint Julep Ingredients:

You will also need:

Tip: I purchased the crushed ice for my mint juleps at Sonic Burger. They sell it for $2 a bag! You can also make crushed ice by adding ice cubes to a food processor or blender, or crush it in a clean pillowcase with a rolling pin or other heavy object.

Two assembled mint juleps on serving tray

What Does Mint Julep Taste Like? 

  • Mint juleps are delightfully refreshing with a hint of sweetness but they still pack a punch from the whiskey. The longer you let it sit, the more diluted the bourbon will become and the more it will taste like mint. 

Is Mint Julep a Girly Drink?

  • Even though it’s a mixed drink, the Mint Julep isn’t a girly drink. It packs a serious punch with the bourbon whiskey. A couple of these and the afternoon can easily slip away from you. 

Side view of one mint julep recipe prepared in julep cup with sprig of mint

Classic Cocktail Recipes

 

Side view of one mint julep in julep cup with sprig of mint

Classic Mint Julep Recipe

This classic Mint Julep recipe is the perfect Kentucky Derby Cocktail. Learn about the best bourbon to use, its ingredients and history.
0 from 0 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Crushed ice
  • Mint sprig (to garnish)

Instructions

  • In a Julep cup or rocks glass, lightly muddle the mint and syrup with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon. You don’t want to break apart the mint, you just want release its aromatic oils.
  • Add the bourbon and fill cup half full with ice. Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside.
  • Add more ice to the cup and garnish with a sprig of mint. Enjoy!

Helpful Tips

Tip: I purchased the crushed ice for my mint juleps at Sonic Burger. They sell it for $2 a bag! You can also make crushed ice by adding ice cubes to a food processor or blender, or crush it in a clean pillowcase with a rolling pin or other heavy object. 
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Julep Cup
Rocks Glass
Spoon Drink Straws

Nutrition

Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 425IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *






This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.