The Mint Julep is a bourbon cocktail best known for being the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is made with bourbon, fresh mint, and a simple syrup. It is commonly associated with the southern United States, particularly with Kentucky, known for its bourbon production. The history of the Mint Julep can be traced back in the US to the early 19th century.
Centuries ago, there was an Arabic drink called julab, made with water and rose petals. The beverage had a delicate and refreshing scent that people thought would instantly enhance the quality of their lives.” In the Mediterranean, indigenous mint replaced the rose petals and the “mint julep” rose in popularity.
The Mint Julep is traditionally served in a rocks glass or, ideally, in a silver Julep cup. Since bourbon is the only liquid in the drink, you’ll want to use a high-quality bottle you know you love. A slightly higher-proof bourbon in the mid-80s or around 90 will keep the crushed ice from diluting the cocktail too quickly. For the Kentucky Derby, Woodford Reserve is the only way to go.
The Original Mint Julep
- 1 julep cup
- 1 muddler
- 2 oz. bourbon
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. water
- 4-5 sprigs fresh mint
- In a julep cup or tall glass, use a muddler to mash the mint leaves, sugar, and water together until the sugar is dissolved and the mint leaves are fragrant.
- Fill the glass with crushed ice.
- Add the bourbon and stir until the glass is frosty.
- Top with more crushed ice and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.