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This Mint Julep recipe is made with just 3 ingredients stirred over crushed ice. There is no cocktail more refreshing and smooth featuring bourbon and lots of fresh mint!
With warmer weather comes the need for refreshments! This bourbon cocktail made with fresh mint is what I’m craving today. When there’s mint to be muddled I usually go for a classic mojito, but today I decided to switch it up. I mean, I am a food blogger after all! It’s my responsibility to do this research for all you lovely readers out there.
Originally created in the 18th century to soothe nausea, the mint julep has transformed into a classic cocktail enjoyed in spades at the Kentucky Derby. While I’m all the way up here in Canada, I still like to sip this refreshing cocktail and feel some of that Southern comfort.
Keep scrolling down to the recipe card for a list of FULL ingredient amounts and instructions or click the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page!
- Simple syrup – See recipe notes for making your own simple syrup.
- Fresh mint – Using fresh mint is a must! The flavor and oils that come out from muddling is pertinent for a mint julep.
- Bourbon – Use your favorite.
- Ice – Make sure you’re using crushed ice. If you only have cubes, add them to a freezer bag, seal it, and beat the cubes with a mallet or rolling pin.
- Soda water – Optional to top off your julep.
How to make a mint julep
- Muddle: Add the simple syrup and mint leaves to a rocks or highball glass. Muddle the leaves until they begin to break down.
- Finish: Fill the glass with crushed ice, then pour in the bourbon. Optional: Top the glass with soda water. Use a spoon to stir the cocktail gently to combine.
What type of bourbon can I use?
It really is up to personal preference when you’re making a mint julep. Since the bourbon will be taking up a majority of the liquid in your glass, you’ll want to choose a variety of bourbon you love to sip. Even rye or whiskey will work if that’s what floats your boat.
If you’d like to keep this recipe true to its roots and not risk upsetting the Drink Gods, use a good, smooth Kentucky bourbon.
How to muddle mint
If you don’t have a wooden muddler, there are some other options you can dig up in your kitchen.
- The handle end of a wooden spoon
- A pestle from a mortar and pestle, used gently in your glass to avoid damage
- French rolling pin
Use gentle twisting motions to crush the mint. You’re just looking to release the flavors, not completely pulverize it. Just muddle until the syrup begins to turn green and the leaves start to break down.
If you are missing both crushed ice and a muddling tool, you can shake the cubes, bourbon, syrup, and full mint leaves well in a cocktail shaker. This will effectively crush your ice and muddle the mint. Pour the entire contents of the shaker into your glass- don’t strain.
How to serve a mint julep
As you see in the photos, this drink is typically served in mint julep cup or r rocks glass. If you’d prefer to have more room to top the drink off with soda water, use any size you’d like! Try it in a beer mug, I won’t mind.
This drink goes well with some classic southern fare. Give these recipes a try:
- Buttermilk Fried Chicken
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Fried Pickles
- Butter Biscuits
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Instant Pot BBQ Pork Ribs
- Perfect Pulled Pork
Check out these fantastic homemade cocktail recipes:
- Whiskey Sour
- Manhattan Drink
- Mojito Recipe
- Aperol Spritz
- Pomegranate Cider Mimosas
- Moscow Mule
Looking for more recipes? Follow on…
- 3/4 oz simple syrup *
- 8-10 mint leaves
- 2 oz bourbon
- crushed ice
- soda water optional
- Add the simple syrup and mint leaves to a rocks or highball glass. Muddle the leaves until they begin to break down.
- Fill the glass with crushed ice, then pour in the bourbon.
- Optional: Top the glass with soda water
- Use a spoon to stir the cocktail gently to combine.
- *To make simple syrup, mix equal parts water and sugar in a sauce pan. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then let it cool for at least 15 minutes before using.