Jumping for Juleps on Derby Day and Beyond...(with video)

Mint Julep from liquor.com
(Cover photo courtesy of liquor.com)
The Mint Julep has been synonamous with the Kentucky Derby since 1938. Each year, about 120,000 Mint Juleps are consumed at the legendary horse race. However, America’s relationship with the official drink of Churchill Downs actually goes back much further in the country’s timeline thanks to Prohibition. Many believe the Mint Julep originated in the early 19th Century in Virginia, Maryland and Kentucky, where it was sold for its “medicinal” properties. Back then, the beverage was made mostly using rye whiskey or brandy, as opposed to the bourbon that is used today. Because Old Forester is the official bourbon of the 2015 Kentucky Derby on May 1st, we will honor that in the classic Mint Julep. If bourbon and mint isn't your thing, please enjoy many other variations of the classic with some using different whiskies, like moonshine, flavored moonshine, white whiskey, bourbons, fruits, and/or herbs. The important thing to remember is that a Julep isn't a Julep unless it has crushed ice, mint, and some type of whiskey. Crushed ice is easily attainable by using a Lewis bag, a special bag with a pouch for breaking up ice, or fill up a large mixing tin with ice and 'crush' using a muddler. The julep cup or glass also defines it, but in this day and age, not so crucial. If you can use one, great!
Juleps' can be enjoyed not only on Derby Day, but also all year long.
Enjoy this video on "How to make a proper Mint Julep?" from my friends over at liquor.com



Classic Mint Julep

  • 1/4 to 1/2 oz sugar syrup (depending on sweetness desired)
  • 6-8 spearmint leaves
  • 2 oz Old Forester Bourbon (official bourbon of 2015 Kentucky Derby) - otherwise use KOVAL Single-Barrel/Small Batch Organic Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 mint sprig for garnish
  • Angostura bitters (optional)
  • Julep cup or rocks glass

How to Make - In a Julep cup or rocks glass, lightly muddle the mint (smack beforehand, don't rip) and syrup. Add the bourbon and pack tightly with crushed ice. Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside. Top with more crushed ice to form an ice dome and garnish with a few drops of bitters (optional) and a mint sprig.


(Photo courtesy of Creative Culinary)

Blackberry Mint Julep

  • 5 blackberries
  • 6 spearmint leaves
  • 1/4 oz blackberry-mint syrup or just sugar syrup
  • 2 oz Firefly Blackberry Moonshine or Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon Blackberry Moonshine,
  • 1 mint sprig and 1 blackberry for garnish
  • Julep cup or rocks glass

How to make a batch of blackberry mint syrup - 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup fresh blackberries, 4 small sprigs of mint. Add water, sugar, blackberries and mint to a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash blackberries and muddle mint into sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and simmer just until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool slightly and place in the refrigerator to chill. Fine strain and store in refrigerator until ready to mix cocktails.

How to make - In a julep cup, add the blackberries, mint (smack beforehand), and sugar syrup and lightly muddle. Add moonshine or bourbon and pack tightly with crushed ice. Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside. Top with more crushed ice to form an ice dome and garnish a mint sprig.


Grapefruit Mint Julep

(Photo courtesy of Key of Kels)

  • 5 spearmint leaves
  • 1/2 oz sugar syrup or 1/4 oz raw sugar
  • 2 oz Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon
  • 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz water

How to make - In a julep cup, lightly muddle mint leaves (smack beforehand) and sugar or sugar syrup in a shaker.  Add ice, bourbon and grapefruit juice. Stir well until tin becomes frosty. Pour into a ice-filled collins glass. Garnish with a mint spring and grapefruit peel. 


Basil Julep

(Photo courtesy of Anna Stockwell)

  • 2 large basil leaves
  • 1/2 oz sugar syrup
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 2 oz Teeling's Small Batch Irish whiskey (for citrus notes)
  • 1 large sprig of basil for garnish
  • Juelp cup or large rocks glass

How to make - In a julep cup, lightly muddle the basil leaves (smack beforehand to release aroma and don't rip basil), sugar syrup, and lemon juice. Add Irish Whiskey and tightly pack with crushed ice. Stir briskly. Add more crushed ice forming a dome and garnish with basil sprig. If you prefer not to have basil in drink, shake with ice in a mixing tim and fine strain into a julep cup with crushed ice.


Strawberry Mint Julep

(Photo courtesy of Maxime Iattoni)

  • 2 large ripe strawberries, washed, hulled and cut into ¼–inch pieces
  • 1/2 oz sugar syrup or 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 spearmint leaves
  • 2 oz. Slow Hand Organic White Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Sprig of mint for garnish
  • Mason jar or highball glass

 How to make - Combine cut strawberries, sugar or sugar syrup, lemon juice, and mint in a mixing tin. Stir well until strawberries are macerated. Add white whiskey and ice and shake vigorously. Pour out contents into glassware. Add more ice if necessary. Garnish with a sprig of mint.


White Peach Julep

(Photo courtesy of www.therubyspoon.com)

  • 1/2 white peach, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 6 spearmint leaves
  • 2 oz Bird Dog Peach Whiskey
  • 1 oz Marie Brizzard Peach Liqueur or Dr. McGillicuddy's Peach Liq
  • 2 dashes of peach bitters (optional)
  • Highball or collins glass

How to make - Muddle the peach and mint sprigs (smack) in a mixing tin until fragrant. Add the whiskey, peach liqueur and bitters. Add ice and shake well. Pour out contents into glassware. Add more ice if necessary and garnish mint sprig.






Recipe Category: