Mint Julep Recipe

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PREP TIME 5 min

Cocktail Type

Bourbon

Great for

Summer

Difficulty

Easy

JUMP TO RECIPE
Refreshing Mint Julep Cocktails served in copper cups

So, get this – back in the day, ingredients for a Mint Julep recipe would have to have been prepped at dawn since it was considered an American breakfast drink, enjoyed by members of the Virginian high society at the height of summer. Yup, those fancy ladies and gents would be sipping on it right there at the 1800s breakfast table. What a time to be alive!  

Here’s our easy Mint Julep recipe to serve at your next cocktail party. After all, just because it was the drink of choice of a complicated literary character (ah, Daisy, why couldn’t you just love Gatsby?!), it doesn’t mean it has to be complicated to make! 

 

QUICK TIPS

01

The Julep cups are completely optional – you can also use a rocks glass

02

Muddle the mint slowly so it’s aromatic oils are released

03

Make crushed ice at home using a Lewis Bag

INGREDIENTS

MAKE FOR

1 Person

60 Ml

2 Oz

2 Parts

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon 
7.5 Ml

0.25 Oz

0.25 Parts

Simple syrup 
10
Mint leaves 
Ice (crushed) 

INSTRUCTIONS

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01

In a Julep cup or rocks glass, lightly muddle the mint leaves in the simple syrup

02

Add the bourbon and pack the glass tightly with crushed ice

03

Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside

04

Top with more crushed ice to form an ice dome, and garnish with a mint sprig 

A short history of the Mint Julep

One of the Mint Julep’s major claims to fame is its starring role in The Great Gatsby in the hand of the novel’s hapless heroine Daisy, who named it her summertime cocktail of choice. In the real world, it’s perhaps best known as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, where the cooling cocktail is sipped along the racetrack as thoroughbreds compete for the winning title.  

It’s also worth noting (and an interesting fact to share with friends over drinks) that the julep itself is actually a category of drinks that refers to cocktails featuring a spirit served over crushed ice.  While you can happily serve it in a rocks glass without raising any eyebrows, a classic Mint Julep is traditionally served in a silver or pewter Julep cup that is held by the handle or rim so the cup maintains optimum frost. 

The Best Mint Julep Recipe

Here’s our easy Mint Julep recipe to serve at your next cocktail party, no extra effort required. After all, just because it was the drink of choice of a complicated literary character (ah, Daisy, why couldn’t you just love Gatsby?!), it doesn’t mean it has too complicated to make! 

How exactly do you muddle mint leaves?

Muddling mint leaves is not hard at all, but it does call for a light touch. The tools you’ll need to muddle mint for a Mint Julep include your glass of choice (either a Julep cup or a rocks glass), and a wooden cocktail muddler, or an unfinished wooden spoon.  

When you muddle your mint leaves and simple syrup together, go slowly and gently to ensure that the leaves are not roughly torn in the process. This will ensure that the aromatic oils from the mint is released without adding any lingering bitter notes to your drink.   

Tip: If you want to make crushed ice at home, we recommend investing in something called a Lewis Bag. Originally used by banks to transport coins, clever 19th-century bartenders started using it to make crushed ice, taking full advantage of the canvas sack’s durability and ability to absorb excess water. 

What is the best bourbon for a Mint Julep?

A good rule of thumb is to use the best bourbon you can find. Since the spirit is the only liquid that goes into the drink, it plays a big role in the ultimate flavour profile. As such, you want to go for a bourbon that you would be happy to sip neat.  

If you want to go really traditional and play into the Kentucky Derby legacy of the cocktail, we’d recommend choosing a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Made from a mash of at least 51% corn grain, and aged for two years in charred oak barrels, this kind of bourbon is smooth, sweet, and a popular ingredient for Mint Julep cocktails 

Tip: A slightly higher-proof bourbon will keep the crushed ice from diluting the cocktail too quickly. 

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For cocktail novices and pros alike, here are our top tips on how to make the best Mint Julep:   Muddle your mint gently; don't tear it.   Take your time with the stirring - 30 seconds at least (the longer the better).   Choose the best bourbon you can find; it's the only liquid in the drink so you want it to be tasty.   Slap the mint sprig against the back of your hand before garnishing the drink to release the aromatic oils in the leaves.   Serve it with Southern-style eats like devilled eggs and pickled shrimp as a nod to the drink's Virginian heritage.

If you make the drink using a 40 percent ABV whiskey, it will come in at around 28 percent ABV. Using a higher proof bourbon will make it stronger still. This is definitely a drink for sipping! 

This easy summer cocktail is made with bourbon, simple syrup, mint leaves and crushed ice. Could it get any easier? 

One of the most popular bourbon-based summer cocktails, a Mint Julep is like a sip of summer in a glass — minty-cool and a little sweet with just enough kick to hold the heat at bay. The magic of this drink lies in the trifecta of bourbon, mint, and syrup working together like a charm. 

The traditional choice is spearmint, a particularly flavourful and aromatic mint varietal. Look out for the smoothest, greenest leaves you can find when you want to garnish summer drinks with mint.  

A Mint Julep is made using bourbon. However, the story goes that it was originally made with cognac or even peach brandy. The switch to bourbon is said to have occurred around the mid-1800s, when France lost a lot of its vineyards to an aphid epidemic and the cognac trade suffered quite a big blow. These days, it is nearly always made with bourbon.