Classic Mint Juleps

classic mint juleps

classic mint juleps

Let’s throw the best Kentucky Derby Party around!  This… coming from a California girl curiously living in the Deep South.

In my mind, throwing the best Derby Party has everything to do with buying all of the mint and all of the bourbon.  With those two staples… everything else will fall into place.  This… coming from the California girl (who really likes bourbon).

A big hat is important.  A television that plays the races is pretty essential.  Red roses are a nice touch.  Fried chicken will keep the masses contented.  A Derby Pie (totally in our near future) is above and beyond, and totally major.

All of the bourbon, though.  First we’re really going to need all of the bourbon.

Classic Mint Juleps

Adorning our bourbon is also pretty important.

Silver Mint Julep cups are classic.  I have friends so serious about the Kentucky Derby, they bring their very own Julep Cups to Derby parties (ahem Ms. Whitney).

 I went with a more colorful Julep cup.  This… coming from the girl from California.  These floral enamel tumblers from MacKenzie Childs are full of charm.

Horse racing cocktail spears found here!

Classic Mint Juleps

With all the bourbon and all the mint, here we are… OFF TO THE RACES!

(I had to.)

Classic Mint Juleps

Ice becomes a major part of Mint Juleps because the cocktail has so few ingredients: mint simple syrup, bourbon, and ice.

Crushed ice all the way.  I’ll be crushing ice all summer thanks to this ice crushing dream machine.  Count on it!

Classic Mint Juleps

A bit of mint simple syrup in the bottom of each tumbler.

Classic Mint Juleps

Lots of crushed ice.

I had no idea how fast ice melts in the South.  Lightening speeds.  Seriously.

Classic Mint Juleps

Bourbon on top of the ice, on top of the mint simple syrup.

My Julep bourbons of choice:  Bulleit, Jack Daniels (which isn’t bourbon, but whiskey), Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, and Knob Creek.  I also think a rye might be nice!  Select what makes you happy.

classic mint julep

More ice, forever and ever.

A paper straw.  A horse racing accessory.  A sprig of mint as giant as your hat or as dapper as your bow tie.  Even this California girl knows this much to be true.

 Additional recourses: How Sweet Eats makes a lovely twist on the classic:  Pineapple Mint Juleps Mint Juleps are serious business.  How to prepare and enjoy the complicated cocktail, from Slate.

Classic Mint Juleps

recipe from epicurious

Print this Recipe!

For the Mint Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

1 big handful fresh mint leaves and stems

For the Cocktail:

1 scant ounce mint syrup

about 2 cups crushed ice

2 ounces bourbon

fresh mint sprigs for garnish

To make the mint syrup, in a medium saucepan combine sugar, water, and mint over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, stir, and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow mint to steep for 15 minutes.  Remove and discard the mint leaves, place syrup in a small jar and refrigerate until chilled through.  Mint syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance.

To make a cocktail, add mint syrup to the bottom of a glass.  Top with about 1 cup of crushed ice.  Add bourbon and stir.  Top with more ice, filling the glass.  Add a mint sprig and straw and stir just before serving.  

48 thoughts on “Classic Mint Juleps

  1. Skip and I drink juleps in white bucks because Derby Day offers white shoe dispensation (along with Easter) between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Subversive celebrating because there will be some (Southern) eyebrows raised.

    Like you, I am devoted to Bourbon. Have lots of almost empty bottles of expensive ones I sample for (frequent) special occassions. Recently discovered the Kentucky Gentleman someone left behind to be delectible, and honestly preferable to some of my famous favs. I was shocked to find that it’s wonderfully inexpensive!!! And perfect for mixing juleps!

  2. Thanks so much for the step-by-step! The gorgeous pictures really help with a detailed cocktail recipe.
    Mint juleps are so refreshing this time of year, and perfect with a slice of Derby Pie!

  3. Is it wrong to want a mint julep at 5:40 am? Will you be posting your derby pie? My favorite is a take on the derby pie by Americas Test Kitchen – Thouroughbred Pie

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