- 2 large fresh mint bunches
- 4 teaspoons (or more) powdered sugar
In each of 4 short glasses, place 8 mint leaves and 1 teaspoon powdered sugar. Muddle, crushing mint to release oils. Add 1/2 cup (generous) crushed ice to each glass, then 1/4 cup bourbon, and 1 tablespoon water. Stir to blend, adding more powdered sugar if desired. Top each glass with several small sprigs of fresh mint.
Nutritional ContentOne serving contains the following: Calories (kcal) 156.1 %Calories from Fat 0.0 Fat (g) 0.0 Saturated Fat (g) 0.0 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 2.5 Dietary Fiber (g) 0.0 Total Sugars (g) 2.4 Net Carbs (g) 2.5 Protein (g) 0.0Reviews Section
April in Louisville is Mint Julep Month. This is when our mint patches start to grow back from last year (seriously, plant some mint and you will have mint every spring forever), signaling that it’s almost Derby season. Woodford Reserve releases the $1000 Mint Julep recipe and corresponding silver and gold cups, Four Roses has its annual Mint Julep competition, and I get busy on Twitter defending the honor of the mint julep cocktail to all those people who have just never had a good one. Here are some of the mint julep recipes that have been sent to me recently, including the Four Roses competition winners. Enjoy!
This Is The Mint Julep Recipe Served At The Kentucky Derby
The Kentucky Derby has something for everyone, from an incredible history as a sporting event (since 1875!) to its pageantry and elaborate hats. But for us, it comes down to one thing: the mint julep.
And since the Derby is the perfect reason to host a bunch of friends for an afternoon of drinking and merriment, we spoke to executive chef David Danielson of Churchill Downs on how he and his team at Levy make juleps for the 400,000 people who come through their gates (including the exact recipe they use), and how you can easily prepare stellar juleps at home.
It’s a 2-minute race and a day of drinking juleps
Just to give you an idea of the scale of this operation, the Derby takes place on Saturday, May 4, but preparations begin in August of the previous year .
“We’ve got an army of people over here working to get everything geared up,” Danielson told HuffPost. He’s not exaggerating, as it takes over 1,000 workers to whip up the estimated 127,000 mint juleps for Derby Day. The premier race is billed as “the fastest two minutes in sports,” but drinking juleps is an all-day event. The bourbon-filled cocktails are being poured right after the gates open at 8 a.m., and people continue imbibing all the way until last call at 8:10 p.m.
What it takes to prepare over 127,000 juleps
As a refresher: a mint julep is a combination of bourbon, water, fresh mint, sugar and crushed ice (keep reading, because we’ve got great recipes for juleps at the end of the story). Churchill Downs uses 254,000 ounces of bourbon (or over 10,000 750 milliliter bottles), 300 crates of mint (about 4,000 pounds of locally sourced stuff from Louisville, Kentucky’s Dohn Gardens) and 60,000 pounds of ice to make their juleps. You probably won’t need nearly as much for your home setup. Nonetheless, Danielson has tips from his nine years of working the Derby to help you out.
Find the right bourbon
If you think any type of bourbon will suffice for a mint julep, think again. Woodford Reserve is in the Derby’s signature julep, and Danielson cited a few reasons why. “Woodford is a very smooth bourbon,” he told HuffPost. “It has a great flavor profile and delicious caramel notes.” Most importantly, it mixes well with the mint and sugar. Other bourbons can either be too spicy or too mellow for the refreshing spring cocktail.
Make the majority of the cocktail ahead of time
When you’re making drinks in large quantities, you want to be sure you’re able to make consistently tasty drinks at a fast pace. Many recipes (including the one for a classic Woodford mint julep found below) call for tiny spoonfuls of sugar, but it’s not super fun to be scooping sugar behind a bar when you’d rather just be hanging out and drinking.
That’s why the Churchill Downs folks instead replace a scoop of sugar with mint simple syrup. “We make a mint simple syrup with equal parts sugar and water. We bring it to a boil and add mint to it. Then we let it steep and strain it off,” Danielson said. That’s a simple enough recipe that even you should try it for your Derby party. We’ve got you covered with more detail on making simple syrup .
Once that’s done, mix a big quantity of bourbon with your simple syrup and throw it in the fridge. When your friends and family arrive, your job becomes exceedingly simple. “ Take your ice out, pour [this boozy mixture] over top, garnish it, and you’re literally off to the races, my friend,” Danielson said.
Crushed ice, accept no substitutes
“Historically, juleps were a sign of prosperity,” Danielson noted. “Ice was a commodity, and so when you wanted to entertain or show people you were in society, you showed people you had ice. If you had crushed ice piled high in a glass, you were really doing well.”
Show all your friends you’re also doing great by using crushed ice. Not only does it look fantastic should you want to Instagram your julep, but it gives you a chance to take out all your frustrations in the making of this drink. If you can’t find crushed ice at the liquor store, you can create it by buying a regular bag of ice and smashing it up with a hammer. Or just using a strong blender.
Treat the mint right
You might be tempted to buy fresh mint from the grocery store and store it in your fridge’s crisper drawer, but Danielson recommends treating mint with more respect. “Put an inch or so of cold water at the bottom of a cup,” he said. “Make sure the stems are sitting in the water.” When you’re ready to serve the cocktail, use an entire sprig of mint, which should have about six to seven leaves on it.
A highball glass is more than suitable
Yes, there sure are silver julep cups you can purchase online and elsewhere, but Danielson said not to sweat it if you don’t have time to buy them. “A skinny, tall, 8-ounce [highball glass] is a great glass for a julep,” he said.
We’ve got two recipes you can check out. The first is the one served at Churchill Downs, and the second is Woodford Reserve’s original recipe. Cheers!
Did you know that Kentucky produces 95% of the world&rsquos bourbon?
It&rsquos no wonder the state has a wide array of whiskey-infused treats. Bourbon balls are among the most iconic.
These balls are chocolate truffles studded with bourbon-spiked pecans. The splash of booze makes the truffles extra decadent.
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Last but not least, you might also want some cute shoes to finish off your outfits! Here at the Mint Julep, you will find an array of sassy sneakers, trendy sandals, and chic mules for any and all occasions! So, whether you are looking to completely re-do your wardrobe or just add to your existing one, look no further! The Mint Julep Boutique has it all!
Mint Julep-Inspired Treats for Derby Day
TIP: Replace vanilla extract with bourbon for frosting that packs a punch.
Simmer 1 cup each water and granulated sugar, 1 bunch fresh mint and 1 piece lime peel in small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat let stand 10 minutes. Then strain into a liquid measuring cup through a fine-mesh sieve.
Make your favorite vanilla cupcakes, from scratch or a mix (I love the yellow cake recipe in the Good Housekeeping Great Baking cookbook)! While cupcakes are still warm, poke with a toothpick and brush with the mint simple syrup. Make our favorite cream cheese frosting recipe, replacing 1 teaspoon vanilla with bourbon. Frost cupcakes once cool. Garnish with mint leaves and thinly sliced lime peel.
These individual panna cottas, served in ramekins, are perfect for your next outdoor party.
Sprinkle 1 package unflavored gelatin over 3 tablespoons cold water. Heat 1 1/2 cups whole milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 2/3 cup mint leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoon bourbon and 1/8 teaspoon salt on high until just bubbling, stirring, until sugar dissolves.
Remove from heat strain into clean bowl and stir in gelatin mixture. Divide among 8 lightly greased 4-ounce ramekins. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 1 day. Run pairing knife around sides of cups invert each onto a small serving plate. Garnish with mint sprigs.
For a kid-friendly treat, simply leave out the bourbon.
Blend 1 cup vanilla ice cream, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup packed mint leaves and 1 tablespoon bourbon in blender until smooth. Pour into a chilled glass and garnish with a paper straw.
Note: Use a julep glass instead, if you have one!
Get your fill of southern comfort flavors with bourbon, mint, and pecans.
In medium bowl, whisk 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt. In large bowl, whisk 6 tablespoons melted butter, 1 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon bourbon and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Stir in 2 lightly beaten eggs. Add flour mixture and 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans and stir until combined.
Spread batter in greased 13-by-9-inch pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in 350 degree G oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out almost clean. Let cool 10 minites.
Meanwhile, melt 1 cup white chocolate chips, 1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil and 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract in microwave 20-second intervals, stirring, until smooth. Spread on cooled blondies.
This semi-frozen dessert is perfect for those warmer, spring days.
Microwave 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup water in medium bowl on High 20 seconds stir until sugar dissolves. Whisk in 3 1/2 cups limeade, 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons bourbon and 1 cup mint leaves let sit 15 minutes.
Pour into a 13-by-9-inch metal baking dish through a fine-mesh sieve cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 4 hours or overnight. Scrape granita into pieces with the back of a spoon. Serve in chilled glasses.
Mint Julep Slush Recipe
We turned a classic bourbon cocktail on its head with one simple change. From crushed ice to slushed ice, this version gives you a refreshing spin on a traditional mint julep that you&rsquore going to want to enjoy in and out of Derby season. Mint juleps are the quintessential Southern cocktail and to Kentuckians, a mint julep is more than a drink. It's a cup of emotion, full of tradition and the classic version is served in silver julep cups to evoke the regal attitude of the historic drink. These glistening cups are filled to the rim with a refreshing concoction of the finest bourbon, simple syrup, fresh mint, and crushed ice. For this recipe, we used those same ingredients, but packed them in a blender to get an all-new slushy, minty treat finished off with our favorite bourbon. Even colder than the classic, it won&rsquot fail to keep you cool no matter the occasion. If you&rsquore making these for a party, don&rsquot worry about using your very best bourbon. When it comes to mixing cocktails, it&rsquos not necessary. The other ingredients&mdashin this case, sugar and mint&mdashthat help create the signature flavor of your drink, slightly mask the nuances of a top-shelf bourbon. Serve these slushes in any glasses you&rsquod like, but always garnish with more mint! Pro tip: gently slap each mint sprig against wrist to release mint oils and fragrance before using it in the blender and as a pretty, fragrant garnish.
Mint Julep Recipe
Saturday is Derby Day, which means that across the country, celebratory sippers will be nipping at their mint juleps, and more than 80,000 of the drinks are expected to be served over Derby Weekend at Churchill Downs.
Tragically, most of these juleps are likely to suck.
With a formula almost as old as the republic, the mint julep is a product of an era in which things were done much more slowly. Somewhat labor-intensive to properly make, a good mint julep can't be rushed, and cranking them out by the hundreds, using prepared mixes and flavored syrups, can only result in sadness.
That's not to say you can't prepare these in quantity for a Derby party. If that's the course you want to take, I'd suggest relying instead on an assembly-line model of manufacture, rather than trying to incorporate all your ingredients in one bottle to simply be mixed with ice and a mint sprig garnish.
To ensure julep success, here are some tips:
- Take the term bruise to heart when approaching the mint. Smashing it vigorously with a muddler or wooden spoon will not only create a messy julep that will leave bits of mint stuck in your teeth, but will release the bitter flavors in the mint leaf. Instead, gently tap at the mint to release the aromatic oils, and swab the sides of the glass with the mint leaves to better disperse the flavor.
- Eschew mixes. You wouldn't use Velveeta when making a Mornay sauce, would you? Then don't use cheap shortcuts with your julep. The sweetened, mint-flavored whiskey you see at this time of year just isn't going to get you the same results as going with fresh. (Though you can speed up the process by premixing your sugar and water over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, then cooling before use.)
- The quality of your ice matters. You want the ice to be finely crushed, almost to a powder, but with some larger, pebble-sized pieces in the mix. You can use a kitchen ice crusher to get there, but you can also fold several ice cubes up in a clean kitchen towel, or in a purpose-built Lewis bag, and whale away at it with a mallet or rolling pin until the ice is pulverized. And keep the ice as cold as you can —a slushy julep is a sad julep.
- Don't get too caught up in the rigidity of what passes for tradition. Juleps have long been made with everything from cognac and rum to rye whiskey and bourbon, and many times with combinations of these spirits. Some minimalistic styles call for swabbing the glass with mint and then discarding it, while others leave the mint in the glass. Still others adorn the drink with the standard mint bouquet, along with sticks of pineapple and slices of orange. (Check out Daniel's article on julep variations for a few recipes to try along with the classic.)
The overall lesson: The julep is flexible. Make the drink the way it tastes best to you (and know that these points should be viewed as suggestions on how to make a tasty julep, rather than rules). Anyone who says you're committing heresy by dashing a flavorful rum atop your julep, mixing it with brandy rather than bourbon, or garnishing the drink with a pineapple stick should feel free to grab a beer instead.
Try These Mint Julep Recipes Just in Time for the Kentucky Derby
The first Saturday in May is usually a little slice of heaven for horse racing fans, especially in the South. Whether you’re keeping your gathering immediate family or hosting a small group at home to watch the coverage, having Mint Julep concoctions on hand is simply a must. This specialty drink isn’t the easiest thing to pour, as it can’t be just thrown together. It takes a bit of planning and careful preparation, but the results are so worth it. The drinks look beautiful, Southern, and are always well-received by everyone who embraces the race-day experience.
While there are dozens of ways to make these specialty libations, we’ve found a few top-tier recipes that incorporate our appreciation of all thing’s wellness as well as our favorite spirits for pouring. Cheers!
A traditional crowd-pleaser with just 3 ingredients.
- 8 large fresh mint leaves
- 0.5 oz of demerara simple syrup in a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water
- 2.5 oz Woodford Reserve bourbon
Gently tap mint leaves against your hands to release aromas. Rub the mint leaves along the inside of a julep cup and drop them into the cup. Add the remaining ingredients. Add crushed ice and swizzle until the julep cup frosts over. Add more crushed ice and garnish with mint.
While we don’t suggest ruining anyone’s fun by bringing up calories, having a lighter choice on hand is always appreciated, especially by females. This version also appeals to those who prefer a stronger, less sweet taste. The citrus pop gives a tart burst of refreshing flavor.
- 1.5 oz Jack Daniels Bourbon
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves
- 0.5 tsp sugar or small packet stevia
- 1.5-3 oz water (to taste)
- Splash of lime juice
Wash the mint leaves (don’t dry). Tear up the leaves to release their flavor and put into a julep cup before gently muddling with sugar/stevia. Swab the mint around the inside of the cup. Fill the halfway with crushed ice. Add bourbon, water (to taste, depending on how strong you want the drink to be), and a splash of lime juice. Fill the rest of the cup with crushed ice. Stir until the outside of the cup frosts. Add a straw and snow cone-like dome of crushed ice on top and garnish with a mint sprig.
Find a bit of balance with your bourbon consumption, alter the recipe to include healing ingredients like Hibiscus Tea and raw honey. A dose of their antioxidant properties never hurts!
- 1 oz Old Forester Signature 100 Proof
- 1 oz Old Forester Classic 86 Proof
- 0.75 oz Hibiscus Syrup*
- 1 bar spoon Becherovka Liqueur
- 8-10 mint leaves
- 3 mint sprigs, for garnish (hibiscus flower, if available)
Rub a handful of mint leaves inside a double old-fashioned glass. Add bourbons, liqueur, and syrup. Pack with crushed ice. Garnish with generous sprigs of mint along with the flower.
Hibiscus Syrup: Bring 1 cup water to boil, reduce heat, add 2 hibiscus tea bags, steep 15 minutes, discard. Dissolve ¾ cup raw honey into tea. Store in refrigerator.
Journey an hour and a half southeast from Churchill Downs and experience the Keeneland Breeze, named for Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky. This light, citrus-infused drink features bourbon, triple sec and ginger ale.
Start prepping for the second leg of the Triple Crown (Saturday, May 15 on NBC) with the Black-Eyed Susan, the official drink of the Preakness Stakes. The Black-Eyed Susan is a sweet and fruity cocktail, and while there are many takes on the drink floating around, Pimlico’s official recipe includes vodka, bourbon and orange juice.