Naturally, Mint Juleps are a huge hit at our annual Kentucky Derby party. With the derby just a little over a week away, I thought it was the perfect time to share my mint julep recipe with you. There are many variations on the mint julep recipe. Traditionalists generally vary between using simple syrup, powdered sugar, or even granulated sugar. And lately restaurants have been mixing it up even more adding things like peach puree. I’ve tried all sorts of variations and have found simple syrup to be the best.
To start, you need to start with a good bourbon. Because the main and essential ingredient in a mint julep is the bourbon you want to use a bourbon with a taste you really like. Last weekend we made ours with Woodford Reserve. I have to be honest, at our Derby party we use Evan Williams – when you’re serving so many people it just makes the most sense.
To get ready for the party, and the onslaught of thirsty attendees, we make a huge batch of simple syrup a couple days before. To make simple syrup you just boil equal parts sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. [TIP: Because the bar gets busy at our party and to save time, I infuse the simple syrup with mint rather than having to muddle mind in every single mint julep made at the party. Simply add a healthy dose of mint leaves to our warm simple syrup mixture and let steep until the syrup has cooled, then discard the mint leaves.] Then let the simple syrup cool on the kitchen counter and then transfer it to a container to refrigerate until party day.
The julep glass is another important component! That could be a Kentucky Derby glass like the one pictured below (this year’s glasses arrived a couple days ago to our house), or you could use a traditional silver Julep Cup.
Bourbon Bill’s Mint Julep Recipe
- Fill a glass full with crushed ice (If you haven’t infused your simple syrup with mint you need to muddle mint in your glass before putting ice in the glass)
- Pour in 1 ounce of simple syrup
- Pour in 2 ounces of bourbon
- Add a splash of good water & mix
- Garnish with a mint sprig
- Add 2 tall thin straws and enjoy!
Make yourself a Mint Julep and remember to bet the gray!