If you’re looking for the perfect mint julep recipe, you’ve come to the right place! We’re making delicious, fresh mint juleps that are perfect for a hot summer day.
A recipe isn’t all we’re going to give you. We think this delicious cocktail is so fascinating that we can’t do it justice without going over some of the facts!
You may not be able to go to the Kentucky Derby this year, but you can bring the taste of it right to your own kitchen.
Read on for everything you need to know about the beloved mint julep!
History of the Mint Julep
Did you know that the classic mint julep originated in Virginia and may have been consumed by farmers for its medicinal properties? It wasn’t until 1938 that it became both the official drink of the Kentucky Derby and the cocktail we recognize today!
Before it migrated to Kentucky, the mint julep was made with sugar syrup and mint leaves. With the rise of ice-houses, ice entered into the mix, improving the mint julep drinking experience by a longshot!
As an effort to showcase Kentucky’s bourbon-making prowess, Derby officials changed up the recipe to include the famed bourbon and voila! The mint julep we know and love today was born!
The Best Mint Julep Recipe
Even though this is a very simple cocktail, there are several ways of making it. We personally like the ratio below. For anyone who feels mint juleps are strong, add a splash of soda water to it!
First, make sure you have a classic mint julep cup. Just like a Moscow Mule should always be served in a copper mug, a mint julep should be served in a classic sterling silver cup.
- Simple Syrup
- Fresh Mint
- Soda Water – Optional
Muddle the mint and simple syrup in a silver cup.
Add in the bourbon, fill with crushed ice and stir well. Stir for about 30 seconds until the cup is icy and cold.
Add a splash of soda water and top with crushed ice. Serve with a paper straw for easier sipping.
Making simple syrup is very easy, check out our guide here! If you like it extra minty make a mint simple syrup!
Mint Simple Syrup
This is optional, but also taste delicious in a mint julep!
It’s easy! 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cups fresh chopped mint leave.
Boil the water and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the mint leaves and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Let the syrup cool then strain to remove the mint leaves. Place the mint simple syrup in a glass jar and refrigerate until cold.
Add a splash of bitters in the cocktail with the bourbon. Just a dash is enough.
Muddle in Fruit and Berries
Make your own flavor combinations and muddle in berries and fruit. Fruit like, pineapple for a pineapple mint julep, or add blackberries or even strawberries!
What Is the Best Bourbon for a Mint Julep Recipe?
The answer, of course, is Kentucky bourbon. Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of choice for the Kentucky Derby but you can use whatever Kentucky bourbon you prefer!
How Do You Muddle Mint for a Mint Julep?
Toss your mint sprigs into your drinking glass–you can use a highball glass, but a silver julep cup is an authentic way to go!
Add your sugar to the mint leaves and grab your muddler. Using light pressure, you can either rock or twist the muddler against the leaves to release the mint oils. Remember, you’re not trying to shred the leaves, so don’t go overboard with your muddling!
How Do You Muddle Mint Without a Muddler?
If you don’t have a muddler, don’t sweat it. The method remains the same, but you’ll need to improvise on a tool! Our best recommendation is the backside of a thick wooden spoon, as this will apply a nice, even pressure without cutting into the mint leaves.
What Does a Mint Julep Cost at the Kentucky Derby?
The cost of a genuine Kentucky Derby mint julep varies. A basic mint julep–equipped with a souvenir glass–costs $15. However, there are some big spenders out there that will dish out over $2,000 for the highest-end bourbon and a rare, etched souvenir glass!
If you’re wondering how many the Kentucky Derby sells each year, let’s just say that it takes over 2,000 pounds of fresh mint to keep the minty cocktails flowing!
More Cocktail Recipes You’ll Love
A Classic Negroni
You know at Sugar & Charm, we’re all about delicious cocktails to get the party started. The mint julep is no exception!
Give us our recipe a try and leave a comment below. Let us know what you think!
Mint Julep Recipe
- 8 mint leaves
- 2 ounces bourbon, good quality!
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- soda water, splash
- Muddle the mint and simple syrup in a mint julep cup.
- Add in the bourbon, fill with crushed ice and stir well. Stir for about 30 seconds until the cup is icy and cold.
- Add a splash of soda water and top with crushed ice. Serve with a paper straw for easier sipping.
- Making simple syrup is very easy, check out our guide here! If you like an extra minty mint julep, make a mint simple syrup!