Classic Mint Julep Recipe
No longer just for cold-weather sipping, bourbon gets a refreshing, summery makeover in this Classic Mint Julep Recipe. Made with just four ingredients in all of five minutes, this minty cocktail wins the Triple Crown for bubbly effervescence, rich flavor, and timeless elegance.
While they’re traditionally made for the Kentucky Derby in May, hubby and I like to sip on these tasty mint drinks all summer long.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Sweet, boozy, and refreshingly minty, these Classic Mint Juleps are perfect for beating even the most sweltering heat. While they’re often reserved for Derby Day, I find that they are the ideal cocktail for any warm-weather gathering.
Made with just four ingredients in less than five minutes, these simple “smash” cocktails are easy enough for even the most novice bartender to create. Simply muddle fresh mint with sugar, layer in your bourbon and mineral water, give it a quick stir, and you’re good to go!
These tasty cocktails aren’t just quick and easy, either. They’re one of my favorite summer sippers of all time. With just enough booze in them to give you a buzz and distract you from the heat, I have a feeling they’ll be on your menu all season long.
Ingredients & Substitutions
As promised, you only need four ingredients to make these enlivening mint cocktails. Here’s your grocery list:
- Mint Leaves – Fresh mint (a.k.a. yerba buena) is the star of this frosty cocktail. Feel free to get creative and swap in other fresh herbs like basil or Thai basil, or add some berries or stone fruit to the mix if you prefer.
- Superfine Sugar – I like using superfine sugar in my cocktails because it dissolves more easily. If you don’t have any on hand, make your own by blitzing regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender until it is very fine.
- Mineral Water – Technically speaking, traditional mint juleps don’t have any bubbles, but I think a little splash of sparkling mineral water contributes to a more thirst-quenching, celebratory feel. You are free to omit it if you wish for a boozier beverage.
- Bourbon – Either bourbon or rye makes for a fantastic julep, so choose according to your preferences. I suggest reaching for the best one in your price range, especially since this is such a simple cocktail recipe.
- Pretty Cups – Hosting happy hour at home feels a lot more special when you go the extra mile and serve your homemade libations in gorgeous glasses. I’ve fallen head-over-heels for these precious pastel beauties, but you can also opt for a more traditional look here.
How To Make A Classic Mint Julep
Once you discover how easy it is to make these classic Kentucky Derby cocktails, I can almost guarantee you’ll put them on your year-round recipe roster. Here’s how you build the perfect mint julep:
Step 1: Muddle. Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a glass and top with the sugar. Muddle together until the leaves begin to break down.
Step 2: Layer. Add a splash of mineral water, fill the glass 3/4 full with crushed ice, and add the bourbon.
Step 3: Stir & Serve. Top with another splash of seltzer, stir, and garnish with a sprig of mint. Serve immediately. Salud!
- Serve juleps in classic pewter or silver cups to maintain peak frostiness. While I love pretty glasses made out of glass, traditional juleps are served in silver cups because they’re super temperature-conductive.
- Grow your own mint for an endless cocktail garden — just make sure to keep it in a separate container! I know I’ve told you all about my mint garden (a.k.a. my mojito garden) before. It’s literally the easiest herb to grow! Just know that it spreads like weeds, so be sure to plant it in some containers to keep it from strangling out your other greens.
- Muddle, don’t mangle. Muddling requires that you just bruise the herbs to release their essential oils, not beat them into submission. Once you can smell the minty fragrance, you’ve done your job.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! I’d suggest replacing the bourbon in this mint julep recipe with either lemonade or more sparkling mineral water.
Sweet, slightly bracing from the bourbon, and quite minty. In other words, like cocktail magic.
I feel like that’s a pretty personal question since taste is subjective! Feel free to use either bourbon or rye, and choose a brand that is well-suited to your price point.
I think its perfect for a guy or a girl! This refreshing cocktail has bourbon whiskey, giving it a creamy, caramel-like flavor, with a punch of spicy oak that’s sharpened by the fresh mint.
Kinda, but not really! The major difference between an American mint julep and a Cuban mojito is that it uses bourbon instead of rum.
More Summer Sippers
If you tried this recipe for my upgraded Classic Mint Julep, please be sure to rate and review it below.
- 10 mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
- 1 1/2 teaspoons superfine sugar
- Mineral water
- 1 1/2 ounces bourbon, see notes
- Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a glass and top with the sugar. Muddle together until the leaves begin to break down.
- Add a splash of mineral water, fill the glass 3/4 full with crushed ice, and add the bourbon.
- Top with another splash of seltzer, stir, and garnish with a sprig of mint.
- Serve immediately.
- Either bourbon or rye makes for a fantastic julep, so choose according to your preferences. I suggest reaching for the best one in your price range, especially since this is such a simple cocktail recipe.
- Make it a mocktail by replacing the bourbon in this mint julep recipe with either lemonade or more sparkling mineral water.