Mint julep is the drink that comes to mind when anyone thinks of Kentucky and/or the Kentucky Derby. And what have we been thinking? We have been blogging together over seven years, we are Kentucky girls, we love the Derby, we love julep cups, and we love bourbon. Yet, we have never shared the perfect recipe for a mint julep. Some people don’t like mint juleps. They think the drink is too sweet, but they still will enjoy at least one for tradition’s sake on Derby Day. Since the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby is next Saturday, May 5, you don’t need to look any further to find a mint julep recipe. We have one right here for you today.
Traditionally, mint juleps were often served in silver or pewter cups (silver plate cups available here), and held only by the bottom and top edges of the cup. This allows frost to form on the outside of the cup. According to Wikipedia, “Traditional hand placement may have arisen as a way to reduce the heat transferred from the hand to the silver or pewter cup.” However, it is perfectly okay to serve them in old fashion glasses (found here) or highball glasses (here). Techniques for making juleps vary depending on who is making them, but they all have the same four ingredients: bourbon, simple syrup, mint, and crushed ice.
Mint Julep Recipe
- Makes 1 drink
- 3 fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon mint simple syrup (recipe below)
- Crushed ice
- 3 tablespoons bourbon ( We use Woodford Reserve)
- MINT SIMPLE SYRUP
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 12 mint leaves
- Bring to a boil in a small pan stirring frequently. Remove from heat, pour into a glass container, and refrigerate over night. Before using, strain to remove mint. Use as directed in julep recipe.
- Add fresh mint leaves and simple syrup to the bottom of a chilled julep cup or 8 ounce glass.
- Muddle leaves to release flavor.
- Add crushed ice to pack glass.
- Pour bourbon over the top.
- Add a sprig of mint as a garnish (optional)
If you are planning on hosting a Derby party, I hosted one way back in our early days of blogging. The photos aren’t so great, but you can get a good idea of the types of food to serve. You can read that post here. To find out how to make bourbon balls, here’s a recipe post I wrote.
Remember, you don’t have to drink a julep on just Derby Day. They are perfect to sip on while resting on the porch on a hot summer day. Enjoy, but remember, don’t drink and drive.
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