The Mint Julep is a trademark of the American South, often sipped at high noon and in hot weather. The Julep has an ironclad relationship with the traditions and heritage of southern elites–but how did the cocktail spread across the country, and who should we credit with its creation, and popularity?
The classic Mint Julep gained popularity during the late 19th century in the American South, becoming the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938.
The Original Mint Julep
- 8–10 mint leaves
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- 2 oz. Bourbon
- 4–5 mint sprigs (for garnish)
Place loose mint leaves on the bottom of a metal julep cup.
Add simple syrup.
With a muddler or the flat back of a bar spoon, lightly press on the mint leaves to release their oils without tearing or shredding them.
Add crushed ice to the julep cup, packing it down until a small mound forms above the rim. If crushed ice isn’t available, pulse ice cubes in a blender or food processor until reaching the desired consistency.
Garnish with mint sprigs.
Carley Gaskin from Hospitality 101 ties her version of the Mint Julep to Chicago’s mercurial weather: this version was meant to be consumed in either hot or cold.
“Chicago has two seasons, the bitter cold winters and the absolutely gorgeous summers. I wanted to create a delicious Julep that could be enjoyed not only during Derby Season, but year-round!”
- 2 oz Town Branch Kentucky Straight Bourbon
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 grapefruit slice
- 6 mint leaves