The Kentucky Derby bills itself as the most exciting two minutes in sports, but what is everyone so excited for? Is it the horse race, the big hats, or the excuse to enjoy the Derby’s delicious and refreshing signature cocktail?
The mint julep is a must for any hot weather day, regardless of who’s racing and when. If you’ve got good bourbon, some mint leaves, simple syrup and ice, you’ve got yourself one delectable drink—but what if you don’t have bourbon? Can you still enjoy a mint julep?
There’s more than one way to win with the mint julep recipe, and we’ve gathered a few classics and thoughtful twists to ensure you can make a mint julep any day, your way. There’s even a mocktail recipe for those who aren’t so interested in all that alcohol.
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Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, so if you want to sip like the folks over at Churchill Downs, this would be the way.
Express the essential oils in the mint and rub them inside the glass. To the same glass, add simple syrup, bourbon and crushed ice. Stir. Garnish with more ice, fresh mint and powdered sugar.
Not so into bourbon, or just happen to have a bottle of light rum in your cabinet? The spiced, tropical spirit make a wonderful julep, too. This recipe comes courtesy of the New York Times.
Muddle mint with simple syrup in a julep glass or old-fashioned glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Add light rum and stir well, until glass frosts. Garnish with mint sprigs.
Born in the South and beloved for decades. Try the classic Mint Julep featuring Rémy Martin 1738.— Rémy Martin Cognac US (@remymartinUS) August 19, 2021
Make your own. Order 1738 now: https://t.co/MWoIpwXwzb
2 oz V.S.O.P
8 mint sprigs
1/2 oz sugar syrup pic.twitter.com/b7NkjQ4wYt
Cognac is another great mint julep base, thanks to its nutty-sweet flavor profile. Rémy Martin shares the following recipe for a decadent sip.
Add 8 mint sprigs and the sugar syrup to a mixing glass. Add crushed ice and 2 oz Rémy Martin VSOP. Shake until frosted, then pour the cocktail into a rocks glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.
We found this fun and fruity take on the classic bourbon cocktail on Instagram, courtesy of the Liquor Wine Time online alcohol retailer. This one comes with a kick!
Add water, sugar and jalapeños over medium heat. Boil the mixture. Bring heat down to a simmer. Continue for 10 minutes. Take the mixture off the heat and cool it. Discard the cooked jalapeños. In a glass, muddle mint and strawberries. Add bourbon and simple syrup. Jam the glass with ice, and finish with a seltzer. Garnish with red jalapeño, mint and a strawberry for a summery kick
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For a tasty sip without the morning hangover, try this summery mint julep mocktail from food and lifestyle blog Taste of the Frontier.
Pour lemon simple syrup (or lemon juice and simple syrup) in a small glass with the mint sprigs and muddle well. Refrigerate this muddled mint mixture for 30 to 60 minutes to infuse the mint flavor into the syrup. Fill a low ball glass with ice. Pour 1½ ounces of your mint/lemon mixture into each glass. Top with ginger ale to fill. Garnish with additional mint.
Photography by: Getty