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Mint Juleps

May 6, 2011

Sticking with my cocktail theme and in honor of the running of the Kentucky Derby tomorrow, I wanted to share a recipe for mint juleps. There is a debate right now in my house on how they should be made. Thomas is the resident bourbon expert these days, but his method is much more difficult than the traditional way. I will do my best to detail each method, but I don’t really have a true recipe for you.

The picture above includes my dad’s personalized silver mint julep cup, along with this year’s derby glasses. Thomas and Eric already had words tonight over who gets the derby glass collection…

Old Fashioned Mint Julep (individual servings)


  • Mint leaves – 1 to 3 sprigs
  • 1 t powdered sugar (or to taste)
  • Crushed ice
  • 2 to 2 1/2 oz bourbon
  • Water (distilled if you have it )


  • In the bottom of a mint julep cup, place mint and powdered sugar. Crush the mint into the powdered sugar, aka muddling, and you can add a little dash of bourbon to moisten it if needed. Muddle the mint/sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add a splash of water and then fill the glass 3/4 full with crushed ice.
  • Add the bourbon and stir
  • Dad says to then take some mint leaves and crush them and then run around the edge of your glass, so you get a taste of mint with every sip just like making a salt rimmed glass for margaritas. Most people serve mint juleps with straws these days so you get the mint/sugar mixture from the bottom. Try it both ways and see what you like best.

Thomas’ Mint Julep (needs to be made one day in advance!)


  • 1L bourbon
  • Mint leaves – 2 bunches maybe
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Powdered sugar


  • Wash mint and place in a small bowl. Cover with 3 oz bourbon. Allow leaves to soak for at least 15 minutes. Remove leaves and place in cheesecloth or paper towels. Wring the mint out over the bourbon. Place leaves back in bourbon and then remove and wring them out again to get the most mint flavor.
  • Prepare a simple syrup by mixing the 1 cup sugar and 1 cup distilled water in a saucepan. Add in some mint leaves tied in cheesecloth in order to infuse mint to the syrup. Heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  • In a large pitcher, combine 3 1/2 cups bourbon with simple syrup – adding to taste so use as much or as little simple syrup as you want. Add mint infused bourbon. Transfer back to bourbon bottle. Refrigerate to allow the flavors to “marry” – preferably 24 hours but just as long as you can if making the day of.
  • When ready to serve, fill a mint julep glass 1/2 full of crushed ice. Add a sprig of mint and then pack more ice on top. Fill with the mint julep mixture and serve with a straw. Top with powdered sugar if desired.
  • **Update – Thomas says to add 1 to 2 cups of water to the final bourbon mixture or else it is too sweet and too potent. Just play around with it to your taste preferences.
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