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What Is a Mint Julep?

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A mint julep is a classic cocktail made from mint, sugar, bourbon, and crushed ice. It’s the official drink for the Kentucky Derby, which is why traditionalists use only Kentucky bourbon in their mint juleps.

A mint julep cocktail at a traditional mint julep bar, served in a silver cup garnished with mint leaves, beside a white rose on a slate coaster.

The First Saturday In May Is Derby Day

Growing up in Kentucky the first Saturday in May was always a special day for me: Derby Day! I still tune into Churchill Downs to watch the Derby, the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” and I love to entertain with as much fanfare as possible. 

That means having mint juleps on hand. For a Derby Party, I’ll even go all out with a Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Bar for my guests. While there are only four ingredients in a standard mint julep, there are two different ways to make them: the easy way and the traditional way. Check out both to see which one is right for you!

An easy mint julep in a silver julep cup in front of the set up for a Kentucky Derby mint julep bar.
5 stars (4 ratings)

Easy Mint Julep with Mint Simple Syrup

This easy mint julep made with mint-infused simple syrup is the perfect way to whip up mint juleps for a crowd. These handcrafted cocktails mix up in about 3 minutes and pack a powerful bourbon punch with a sweet hint of mint. A deliciously refreshing cocktail perfect for a hot summer day.
A mint julep in a silver mint julep cup with sprigs of mint and a decanter of bourbon in the background.
5 stars (2 ratings)

Classic Mint Julep Muddled with Sugar

Refreshing, minty, and packing a bourbon punch, the classic mint julep cocktail is a must for anyone who loves bourbon, the South, or the Kentucky Derby. This iconic cocktail calls for muddling fresh mint with granulated white sugar to create that sweet, oaky, minty cocktail that is as unique as it is delicious. It's a timeless classic for good reason.
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About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

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