The Perfect Mint Julep
The Mint Julep is a simple yet delicious cocktail. Like many classic drinks, it’s only a few ingredients, four to be exact: Bourbon, mint, sugar, and crushed ice.
The origins are fuzzy, but it’s pretty agreed upon among connoisseurs that it got its start in the southern United States (go figure) with the rise in popularity of bourbon in the 18th century. It must have been well-known, because it even makes an appearance nearly two centuries later in Henry Craddock’s 1930 cocktail bible, The Savoy Cocktail Book. It’s based on the drinks he whipped up at the American Bar in the Savoy Hotel in London. Clearly, the Mint Julep made it across the pond!
There are dozens of ways to make a Mint Julep, and every fan has their particular favorite, from the brand of Bourbon to the sweetener. For example, sorghum syrup, a by-product of bourbon production, has become quite trendy lately as an alternative to simple syrup. As for brand, well, Woodford Reserve and Maker’s Mark are giant sponsors of Derby-related shindigs, while your local barman probably has a craft Bourbon he likes to show off. I take it back a notch, and go with Craddock’s own recipe from his beverage manual. It uses powdered sugar and as for whiskey, well, we play around. Watch my Insta Stories later to see this year’s twist!
For a taste, try the recipe below today before the Running of the Roses—the fastest two minutes in sports kicks off at 6:50 p.m. today.
Southern Mint Julep
4 springs of fresh mint
1/2 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 glass of Bourbon
Use a long tumbler and crush the mint leaves and dissolved sugar lightly together. Add spirit and fill the glass with cracked ice. Stir gently until glass is frosted. Decorate on top with 3 sprigs of mint.
P.S. Consider serving your cocktail alongside a slice of “Derby Pie.” Find the recipe here.