The Mint Julep: Grab Some Bourbon for a Great Kentucky Derby Day Cocktail

May 3, 2023

May might bring spring flowers, but it also brings us The Run for the Roses. Also known as the Kentucky Derby, this annual horse race is held the first Saturday in May in Louisville at the historic Churchill Downs. The race is the first leg in the Triple Crown and is the longest running sporting event in the United States, dating back to 1875.

Tradition for the Kentucky Derby involves Mint Juleps and extravagant hats, along with wearing your Sunday best. Naturally, Kentucky bourbon is also a huge part of the event, second only to the horses themselves. So while you’re out shopping for your new duds, why not pick up a bottle of something special for the traditional cocktail?

Bourbon Selection

A Mint Julep is a muddled cocktail and you really want the bourbon to make an impression. Our recommendation is to use at least a 90 proof bourbon as the drink can quickly become watered down in the heat of the day. Even better is to use a bottled in bond bourbon which clocks in at 100 proof.

mint julep

You can go all out and choose Heaven Hill’s Old Fitzgerald BIB Decanter Series or dial it back a bit and choose a workhorse like Jim Beam’s Old Grand-Dad. We’ve got a few more suggestions for you here.

Whichever bourbon you choose our recipe below is sure to be a winner — even if your bets are not.

Mint Julep Recipe:

– 8-10 mint leaves
– 1 tsp superfine sugar or ½ oz simple syrup
– 2 ½ oz bourbon
– Crushed ice

Place mint leaves in the bottom of your drinking glass (if you have a silver mint julep cup or a double Old Fashioned glass, great! But a Collins glass will also work). Add sugar and gently muddle. Next, add bourbon and crushed ice to the glass. Stir gently until the glass chills. Then add more ice to the mound on top. Place a couple of mint sprigs on top for garnish. Serve with a short straw or julep spoon straw.

Since it’s the Kentucky Derby after all, we suggest you use a Kentucky bourbon in your Mint Julep on this occasion. If it’s not Derby week, feel free to use bourbon made outside of Kentucky. You can also swap out the bourbon for brandy if you’re so inclined.

Find your next Mint Julep Bourbon

Download the Distiller app on your mobile device and upgrade to Distiller Pro to easily scan to search bottles while shopping to quickly find all the information you need about each individual whiskey bottle and more. Plus as an exclusive article discount we’re giving you a free trial month when you use code ARC1 at checkout.

Join Distiller Pro

Learn the flavor profile, read reviews, add your favorites to lists and more! Download here.

With Distiller, you’ll always know what’s in the bottle before you spend a cent. Rate, Review and Discover spirits! Head on over to Distiller, or download the app for iOS and Android today!

You may also like...