A classic mint julep is the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby. They’re cool, sweet, and minty, with just enough booze to put you in a party mood. It is a delicious, summery cocktail.
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I don’t think you can throw a Kentucky Derby party without serving Classic Mint Juleps. Churchill Downs claims to serve over 120,000 mint juleps during the 2-day race. So if they can do that many in over a weekend, surely we can do a couple at our little parties.
WHAT IS A CLASSIC MINT JULEP?
Refreshing and easy, this classic cocktail has only four ingredients – simple syrup, mint. Bourbon, and crushed ice.
The drink is thought to have originated in the Middle East, originally using rose water instead of mint. Southerners adopted the drink using mint, which was plentiful, as a remedy to protect against mosquitos and malaria. It was so delicious, that the cocktail caught on and became a Southern staple.
WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS COCKTAIL?
Four ingredients are all you need. It couldn’t be easier.
- Simple syrup – this is just equal parts sugar and water that is boiled and cooled. I store a small bottle of it in my refrigerator for cocktails, ice tea, iced coffee.
- Fresh mint. Pick unblemished, deep green mint.
- Bourbon. I like Maker’s Mark, but use what you enjoy.
- Crushed ice. Not ice cubes, not shaved ice, but crushed ice. I put ice cubes into a ziplock bag and whack it with a rolling pin. Done.
More Kentucky Derby Recipes:
- Kentucky Hot Browns
- Classic Pimento Cheese
- Country Ham And Biscuits
- Pickled Deviled Eggs
- Barbecue Bloody Mary
- Fresh Peach Bellini
- Decadent Chocolate Bourbon Balls
CLASSIC MINT JULEP
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: Serves 1
This classic mint julep is the traditional cocktail of the Kentucky Derby. It is minty, a little sweet, and highlights the full, rich flavor of the bourbon.
½ ounce simple syrup
8 mint leaves, no stems, more for garnish
2 ounces bourbon
In a Julep cup or a rocks glass, muddle the mint and simple syrup together to release the essential oil in the leaves. They do not have to be crushed into small bits.
Pour in the bourbon and fill the glass with crushed ice.
Garnish with mint sprigs and enjoy.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Starters - Cocktails
- Method: Stir
- Cuisine: Southern
Keywords: classic mint julep, Kentucky Derby, bourbon cocktails, Southern cocktails, mint
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