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|
|Pebble or Crushed Ice|
- Gently muddle the mint leaves and syrup until shredded (about 1 minute).
- Add the bourbon.
- Pour mixture into a chilled metal julep cup.
- Fill with crushed ice.
- Swizzle. Add more ice.
- 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.