Cocktail Recipe: Mint Julep

The Kentucky Derby is coming up on May 2, and you know what that means. Mint Juleps! No, not because they’re trendy — because they’re good.

The Mint Julep, a frosty-cold and sweet snow cone of an adult beverage, is one of the true treats of the warm weather season. In the days before air conditioning, they were cherished in the South for their ability to cool you down when the temperature was hot, and thus became a traditional summertime libation that continues until this day.

The recipe for a classic Mint Julep, courtesy of Dale DeGroff, is included below.

Or try The Queen’s Julep from Bob Peters, a twist on the original featuring the addition of Fernet Branca Mentha, the bittersweet and minty Italian  amaro.

Mint Julep

Mint Julep

Adapted from a recipe by King Cocktail Dale DeGroff.

Feel free to substitute your favorite brand of bourbon. Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby, while the Old Forester Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. But any good quality bourbon will work.

Use tender, young sprigs of mint, which last longer and look better.


  • 1 1/3 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Simple Syrup or 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 4 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • Mint Sprig, for garnish


  1. Prepare some very cold, very dry powdered ice by crushing chunks of ice inside a canvas ice bag. Bruise the mint leaves in the bottom of a julep cup with simple syrup or sugar. Add ice to the three quarter mark and add half of the bourbon. Stir to chill the julep cup. Top off with more powdered ice and the remaining bourbon. Continue to stir until the outside of the cup begins to freeze. Garnish with the mint sprig and set aside to rest while the julep cup freezes over on the outside. Pick up carefully to imbibe.