Jenn here, gearing up for “the most exciting two minutes in sports” this coming weekend! Yes, it’s that time of year again — when ladies and gentlemen gather at Churchill Downs to place their bets on the finest horses in the country. I still haven’t been to the Kentucky Derby (definitely on my “bucket list”), but I usually manage to put on a great hat and find a fun party to attend here in town. Turns out that one of the best Derby Day traditions is one you can stir up for yourself right at home: the classic Kentucky mint julep. Traditionally served in a chilled silver cup, this simple bourbon cocktail packs a lot of punch. This bold and refreshing drink got me thinking about the winning horse from last year… his name was “I’ll Have Another.” We recommend going heavy on the crushed ice, which will slightly dilute the drink as it melts.
Classic Kentucky Mint Julep
- 2.5 ounces bourbon
- 25–30 mint leaves
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- ice cubes
- crushed ice
For the mint simple syrup:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 large bunch mint leaves
1. First, you’ll make the simple syrup. Combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Place the bunch of mint leaves in an old mason jar (or other heatproof container) and pour the syrup over the leaves. Place the jar in the fridge and let the leaves steep in the syrup for at least one hour. Strain the leaves from the liquid and set the syrup aside.
2. Place your 25–30 mint leaves in a cocktail shaker and pour in the 2.5 ounces of bourbon as well as one ounce of your simple syrup. Top with a few ice cubes and stir. Fill your chilled silver cup with ice about halfway. Strain the liquid from the cocktail shaker into the cup. Pack crushed iced on top of the liquid to the top of the glass. Garnish the drink with a sprig of mint leaves and a straw.
3. Place your bets!
*This recipe was inspired by “Mint Juleps” via The Crepes of Wrath and “Stir Up a Classic Mint Julep” via Southern Living.
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That looks so good! Beautiful styling, too!
Thank you so much, Tiffany!
Looks delicious! I’ll be stirring some up as well with my mint and blackberry infused bourbon that’s soaking away in my fridge.
Bourbon infused with blackberries and mint
Oh wow. That looks heavenly. Thanks for sharing your recipe — I’ll have to try that out soon!
oh this looks delicious! thanks for this recipe. this is the first time since high school that i won’t be at the derby so i’ll have to whip some of these up to make me feel a home 🙂
Ah! So jealous that you’ve been — and multiple times, at that! Here’s to enjoying a good strong julep from home.
yes! it’s so fun. i hope you get to go some time!
I made Julep’s the other week after my first trip to the horse tracks. Though we went to Southern California’s Santa Anita Park and not Churchill Downs it was still such a treat! I’ve left links to both posts if you’re interested.
Love your photos, Ashley! Thanks so much for sharing. Great hat, and Santa Anita’s Park looks fabulous! I’ll have to give your recipe a try as well. I’m interested in trying a version of this drink that includes powdered sugar.
I’ve never had a mint julep but I think you’ve sold me and I’ll have to whip some up this weekend! Sounds like the most perfect hot weather drink 🙂
Yes! The perfect drink for hot weather — crushed ice is key.
Those look yummy! I have to say, I do love this time of year. It’s a fun 2 minutes!
So much fun! I always bet on the horse with the best name. This year it’s “Fear the Kitten”! Go, Kitten, Go!
Where are the mint julep cups from?
Hi, Angelica. The cups are antique, kindly on loan from my mom! But there are very pretty ones available through Mark & Graham (http://www.markandgraham.com/products/skinny-mint-julep/) and also Reed & Barton (http://www.reedandbarton.com/kentucky-silverplate-julep-cup).
I will have to try your recipe. Surely looks refreshing! I especially liked the straws…where
can you find them? D
Thanks, D! You can buy straws like the ones we used here: http://smittenonpaper.com/grey-striped-straws.html
By the way, the mint syrup is delicious in iced tea. I keep a big pot of mint on my patio so that I can have mint syrup in the fridge at all times!
Mmm! Sounds divine… Good idea. Thanks for sharing! I’ll have to try that this summer.
Where did you get those glasses/goblets/silvercups?! What would you call them? hahah
They were borrowed from my mom! They are called “mint julep cups” and you can find similar ones available through available through Mark & Graham (http://www.markandgraham.com/products/skinny-mint-julep/) and also Reed & Barton (http://www.reedandbarton.com/kentucky-silverplate-julep-cup).
This looks incredible! And love your photography. Saving this and making this weekend! Happy to have found your blog from Bubbly In Brooklyn!
Thank you so much! Have fun watching the race!
Fantastic pictures, and the recipe is very good as well, though I find the amount of sugar a little too high. I would usually go for just half an ounce of sugar syrup since the crushed ice already helps sweetening the bourbon simply by diluting it!
Thank you so much for your post! I was able to use one of your images in my inspiration today and hope you enjoy the post as much as I do! I always love a good min julep and can’t wait to try my hand at this recipe!
How many does this recipe serve?
What a classy presentation! May I ask where you got the silver cups and tray?
Thank you, Courtney! The silver cups and tray were graciously lent to us by my mother. The silver tray is an old family heirloom and the silver cups can be purchased many places online like Silver Queen https://www.silverqueen.com/store/Julep-Cups-Store She had hers monogrammed which is always a fun Southern touch. Bottoms up!
Hi! Im a wedding planner in California and I would love to use one of these images for the wedding blog that I write. Would that be alright with you? I’ll include the direct link to this page underneath the photo : )
Hi Lauren! And thank you for asking — yes, we would be honored for you to include our image on your site. Please be sure and include a link to http://www.camillestyles.com underneath the photo to direct readers to the full recipe! Cheers, jenn