Joy the Baker

Mint Julep Two Ways

April 29, 2009

Mint Julep Season

These bourbon laden treats were inspired by two things:  those still spring, but almost summer days that give you a hint at just how blazing hot this summer is going to be, and… this weekend’s Kentucky Derby.

Here’s what I know about Spring:

It’s green.  Once we get past the Easter Bunny stage, it’s all about blooming flowers and May showers.  Spring makes me feel like I’m in love with the world… probably because I am.

Here’s what I know about the Kentucky Derby:

Horses.  Hats.  Mint Juleps.

Here’s what I know about bourbon:

Dang, it’s good!

Mint Julep Season

Mint Julep Season

Here, for your Spring and Derby pleasure, are Mint Julep two ways.

The first is a classic Mint Julep cocktail.  If you’re from the South and think that somehow this recipe is not a classic version, then please accept my humble apologies as a native Californian.  This is the (ooooh so delicious) way I’ve had Mint Juleps foreva-eva-eva.

The second version is all of the Mint Julep fix-ins on watermelon cubes.  Brilliant, right?  So refreshing, so fun, and just the perfect way to get ready for the summer sun.

Mint Julep Season

Mint Julep Season

Mint Julep, the cocktail

makes 1 drink  adapted from Chow

Print this Recipe!

  • 3 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • club soda or filtered water
  • sprinkle of powdered sugar

Muddle the leaves from two mint sprigs with teaspoons of water and sugar in a highball or collins glass.

Once the mint is bruised and the mixtures is super fragrant, fill the cup with ice cubes.  Pour in bourbon, and top with club soda or water and garnish with the remaining mint sprig and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

Mint Julep Season

Mint Julep Season

Mint Julep, the watermelon

adapted from Gourmet May 2005

  • 2 tablespoons bourbon or blended whiskey
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint plus 2 tablespoons whole small fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 small, seedless watermelon (about 2 pounds of diced watermelon, I just used a small mixing bowl full of diced melon)

Stir together bourbon, chopped mint, and sugar in a small bowl. Let stand 20 minutes (to allow flavors to develop).

Meanwhile, trim, peel, and dice a watermelon.  Place in a medium mixing bowl.  Pour bourbon mixture through a sieve onto watermelon. If you leave the chopped mint in the mixture, pour it all over the watermelon, and don’t serve it immediately, they’ll eventually turn brown and icky.  I learned the hard way.  Add whole mint leaves and gently toss to combine.  Place in the fridge to chill until serving.

Mint Julep Season

43 Comments Add A Comment

  • My husband and I take a yearly trip to New Orleans. We now grow our own mint so that we may partake in Mint Julieps to remind us of our trips.

  • The watermelon sounds spectacular! With this being standardized testing week for the school kiddos in Texas us teachers will want to take full advantage of these recipes.


  • Ooh those look refreshing! Especially the watermelon. I can’t wait for watermelons – I’m going to try to make a drunken watermelon at some point this summer.

  • I love Bulliet and most any bourbon. I think this weekend I will wear a big sun hat and take a mint julep to the Paris Flea Market and celebrate the Kentucky Derby. I also recently discovered Pimm’s Cup and think it may take over as my new summer cocktail. I don’t want to hurt Gin/Vodka Tonic’s feelings, so maybe I will alternate!

  • Watermelon mint julep sounds like the perfect summer refreshing!

  • Girrrrl, you are speaking my LANGUAGE with the mint juleps! (being originally from Kentucky). And the watermelon mint julep? GENIUS! Genius I tell you.

    Also, you are in LA, right? I travel there quite a bit and will be in the area for a week next week. I always eat the best food there but am kind of stumped on bakeries. Any that YOU would recommend?

  • I love the addition of watermelon. It provides such a fresh color! Typically I find myself shifting from Bourbon to Gin in the summer, but this might change my mind.

  • I am from the Bluegrass state and I think your mint juleps look delicious!!!! Using a good bourbon is key. Makers Mark if you like sweet and Blanton if you like a smooth taste. It also comes in a beautiful bottle with a horse on the cap. Beautiful photos!

  • Everytime I see, hear of, or drink a Mint Juleps, I want to shimmy into a seersucker outfit and play croquet!

  • Joy,
    These look terrific. Throw in some Derby Pie and some very large hats, and this looks like the ultimate Derby celebration.
    Take care.

  • I went to the Derby two years ago. It was hilarious to see beautifully dressed women retrieving zip top bags of bourbon from underneath of their dresses. The (Kentucky) Oaks Lily is also a refreshing cocktail, maybe toss in diced crisp green apple!

  • This sounds great. Perfect drink to enjoy in the garden on a summer’s day. If you’re lookin’ for more boozy drink suggestions, try a Mary Pickford, it’s a family favourite.

  • oh! girly i’m with you on this! first bulleit is one of my favorites! second i’m from louisville, ky but am now living in copenhagen, denmark. i usually go home every year because it’s the one thing you can’t miss all year, screw christmas. it’s a full on two week extravaganza starting the two weeks before derby day. and this just so happens to be the first time in nine years i haven’t been to the derby and it’s paining me in ways you wouldn’t believe! thanks for this post, i truly enjoyed it! maybe i’ll make the splurge and go down to the one place here that carries bulleit, even though i have a bottle of makers mark looking me in the eye. keep on keeping on!

  • I’m with you on the bourbon thing! Love the photos and will definitely be trying the cocktail.

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