Happy Now #59


Mint Julep

I think the name of this cocktail throws people off. I’ve mentioned it a few times and the reaction I receive implies I’m describing a flowerly drink clad with a tiny pink paper umbrella. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Mint Julep is a southern cocktail, consumed by southern men no less, and it’s hard to imagine them drinking anything less than a man’s drink. As most know, it’s the drink of the Kentucky Derby, so it comes with pedigree, which is always a good thing.

There are a few keys to making an excellent mint julep:

  • Use your best bourbon. This is the time to pull out the good stuff. I like W.L. Weller or Forester’s. A proof of around 50% is considered appropriate.
  • Use metal cups, ideally silver or pewter. If you don’t have these, there is no point making a mint julep, or any julep for that matter (and there are many other equally amazing juleps out there). Copper Moscow Mule cups could be used in a pinch.
  • Use the best mint you can find. I make my mint juleps in the summer using (no joke) wild river mint at my cottage. It’s so good it’s wild aroma is almost overpowering.


2 oz Good Bourbon
2 tsp Simple Syrup
20 Mint Leaves
Pebble or Crushed Ice


  1. Gently muddle the mint leaves and syrup until shredded (about 1 minute).
  2. Add the bourbon.
  3. Pour mixture into a chilled metal julep cup.
  4. Fill with crushed ice.
  5. Swizzle. Add more ice.
  6. Garnish with mint stems.

Make no mistake, this drink is boozy but scrumptious, assuming you like bourbon. Serve on a very hot day. Wear a fancy hat, steal a horse, get it to run around somehow and then pretend you’re at the derby.

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