The Best Mint Julep Recipe Ever. Period. - Derby 2022
Rabbit Hole Distillery
Not just for the Kentucky Derby, this mint julep recipe is a great way to cool down! So, whether you are trackside - or poolside - this refreshing cocktail with historic roots is sure to please! If you don't have a traditional "silver" cup, no worries! you can use an elegant rocks glass instead!
1/2 cup pure (organic) cane sugar
1/2 cup of spring water, or Kentucky limestone filtered water
8-10 fresh mint leaves
1/2 ounce of simple syrup
2.5 ounces fine straight bourbon whiskey or high-rye American whiskey
3 mint leaves (garnish)
1 lime wedge (optional, but recommended for garnish)
1.5 cups of crushed ice (about ten cubes from freezer - place in gallon zip lock, cover with kitchen towel and hit with hammer)
The Mint Julep
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water on medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved
Continue heating just until sugar mixture starts to simmer/boil
Immediately remove from heat source, and allow it to cool. Once cool, transfer to mason jar and place in fridge.
The Mint Julep
Place silver/traditional mint julep cup (or Rabbit Hole rocks glass) in freezer for about ten minutes.
In a separate cup, muddle (crush by gently mashing) the mint leaves using a professional bar muddler or simply use the handle of a wooden spoon.
Remove glass from freezer, and transfer muddled mint to silver cup/rocks glass.
Pour measured bourbon/whiskey over the muddled mint. Wait 30 seconds.
Pour (completely cooled) simple syrup over the mint and bourbon/whiskey.
Add crushed ice and stir with bar spoon, or metal straw.
Enjoy while watching the big race, or any time you want a historically refreshing cocktail!
Add 3 ounces of bourbon instead of 2.5 for that extra southern "kick" - also, experiment with different bourbon and whiskey expressions for a unique mint julep. If you do not wish to use organic cane sugar, you can substitute with honey, agave or another sweetener.
Try one of these Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys:
- Cavehill - Award-winning, one-of-a-kind bourbon
- Dareringer - Wheated bourbon finished in PX Sherry casks
- Heigold - High rye Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Or, a high-rye American whiskey:
- Boxergrail - High rye American whiskey
How To Make A Mint Julep
First, a little story...The mint julep is synonymous with the Kentucky Derby. Each Oaks Day and Derby Day patrons will imbibe over 150,000 mint juleps, which will require about 12,000 bottles of bourbon, around 1,000 pounds of fresh mint and 70,000 pounds of crushed ice. This famous drink has been an iconic Derby symbol and all-around southern tradition since the early 19th century.
In reality, the drink traces it’s roots much further. In fact, the derby-themed elixir of frost and America’s oldest spirit can be attributed to ancient Persia.
As Arthur Dudney, a researcher in Asian and Middle Eastern studies at Cambridge University notes, "Julep is a classic example," and further explains "It started as Persiangul-āb (rose water), then entered Arabic asjulāb ... and from there entered a number of European languages (Latin, Provençal, Spanish, Portuguese, and French) with the 'b' softened into a 'p' (e.g., julapium in Latin). And from French it entered English in the 15th century. The bourbon-spiked Kentucky Derby mint julep tastes nothing like the Persian rose-water drink, but the name is from Persia."
Ina 1908 edition of Fuel Magazine, a Lexington, Kentucky, native named Samuel Judson Roberts explained the importance of the cup.
“Take a silver cup – always a silver cup. Fill it with ice pulverized to the fineness of snow.” Once the drink is mixed, “shake the cup slowly until a coating of a thick white frost forms on the outside. Trim with mint and hand to an appreciative gentleman.”
You can pick up your own silver julep cup here or simply order one of our limited edition rocks glasses - they work great for a quick Mint Julep!