Whether you attended the Kentucky Derby or a watch party this year, there is one drink you almost certainly enjoyed. Perhaps no cocktail is more closely associated with the Kentucky Derby than the mint julep. Although it was made famous at the Kentucky Derby, this refreshing beverage is great all summer long, and has been a favorite among equestrian fans for generations. The sweet and crisp flavor, with just the right warmth of bourbon, is a delicious Southern tradition. If you’re looking for a fantastic recipe, look no further. Horse Hound and Hunt has rounded up some great ones for you to try!
The Traditional Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
At the Kentucky Derby festival and race, around 120,000 mint juleps are served every year. That number requires an astounding 1,000 pounds of fresh mint, and about 60,000 pounds of ice! If you’re looking for a great, traditional mint julep recipe here is the Kentucky Derby’s own from their website. This recipe will make about 12 cocktails.
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Begin by making a simple syrup. Boil the water and sugar together for 5 minutes, stirring often. Cool and place in a covered container with 8 sprigs of mint. Refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, then adding 1 tbsp of mint syrup and 2 ounces of bourbon. Stir briskly with a spoon and garnish with a sprig of mint.
If you’re looking for something a little different, try one of these fun twists on the traditional mint julep. At Horse, Hound and Hunt, we think these are great additions to any summer party, and are sure to wow your guests all season long. Each one offers a new and unique take on a centuries-old favorite, and all of them are perfectly delicious. Don’t be afraid to be creative!
Strawberry Mint Julep
This recipe from Southern Living is a fun, fruity twist on the mint julep and is perfect for summer! It makes one mint julep, so adjust the recipe to make as many or as few as you like.
2 teaspoons simple syrup
3 large strawberries, hulled
8 mint leaves, torn by hand
2 ounces bourbon
1 cup crushed ice
Mint sprig, for garnish
Strawberry for garnish, cut in half length-wise
Combine the 3 strawberries with the simple syrup and muddle until strawberries look pureed. Add torn mint leaves and continue to gently muddle until mint is bruised. Be sure not to overwork the mint! Fill a glass with crushed ice. Add bourbon and strawberry mixture. Stir briskly and enjoy!
Hibiscus Honey Mint Julep
This uniquely delicious take on the mint julep from Honey and Birch is sure to impress guests at your next picnic or garden party.
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup honey
1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
8 leaves fresh mint
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish
Make syrup by bringing water, honey, and hibiscus flowers to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain syrup and allow to cool before use. Add mint leaves to syrup and muddle until bruised. Fill a glass with crushed ice ice. Add 2 tbsp of the mint hibiscus syrup and 1 ½ ounces bourbon. Stir, garnish with a sprig of mint, and serve.
Orange Mint Julep
This wonderful mint julep recipe from Bon Appetit is just right for summer. The flavor is refreshing, a little tropical, and not too sweet! This recipe makes 4 cocktails.
Zest from 1 orange, removed in strips
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 orange, cut into 4 pieces
1 bunch mint
8 ounces bourbon
Start by making a simple syrup by bringing orange zest, water, and sugar to a boil in a small sauce pan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cover and chill for 2 hours before use. Strain syrup. To make each cocktail, combine 1 ounce orange syrup, about 8 mint leaves, 1 piece of orange, and a couple of dashes of orange bitters. Muddle until orange is well crushed. Fill a glass with crushed ice, add orange mixture and 2 ounces of bourbon, then stir briskly. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.
We hope you enjoy these fabulous mint julep recipes! Let us know in the comments which ones you try, or which one is your favorite. If you have another mint julep recipe you love, we want to hear about it! Share your own delicious take on this classic summer cocktail. Your recipe might even be featured in a future addition of Horse Hound and Hunt!