The Classic Mint Julep Cocktail

Over the years I’ve made Mint Julep’s many ways – granulated sugar, simple syrups, brown sugar, fruit, citrus, you name it. But I’m really a purist at heart, and this is the best recipe because nothing gets in the way of the bourbon, mint, sweetness, and powdery crushed ice. Think of it as a bourbon and mint snowcone of sorts.

There are a few keys to this one – light crushed ice, gentle mint muddling (no mashing!), the mint syrup, and using a bourbon that brings a nice balance of sweetness, spice, and oak flavors. I really enjoy Buffalo Trace, Four Roses Small Batch, and Wild Turkey 101 for this purpose. If you want to mix it up a little, replace the bourbon with a great rye whiskey like Rittenhouse or Russell’s Reserve.

I hope you will give this one a try for the Kentucky Derby this weekend, but please don’t stop there. There’s months and months left to enjoy this cool, classic Southern cocktail. Cheers!


  1. Josh Scott says:

    Great video Jason! “Drink your Julep”….hahaha, nice twist. My only complaint is I wish I could see in your glass. It’s hard to tell exactly what the mixture should look like right before you added the ice.

    Also, how do I make the sugar syrup again? 2 parts regular granular white sugar and 1 part water? And where did you get your mint? Just a grocery store?

    Thanks again for posting!

  2. Thanks for the comment Josh. And good point on the inside of the glass, but suffice it to say, it looks like fresh mint, coated in mint simple syrup. I’m just barely bruising and using very little force to coat the glass in mint oil and sugar syrup.

    The sugar syrup itself is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water. In this case I used exactly that – 2 cups of sugar brought to a boil with 1 cup of water. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the burner, move it to a cool burner and let it cool until you can work with it (warm). I purchase good quality mint at the local grocery store. Place a good handful in the warm mint syrup, pop it into a container and store it in the fridge to cold steep for at least 24 hours. It’ll keep for a good long time.

    I use about 2-2.5 teaspoons in my recipe. You can vary it more or less depending on your tastes.

    Enjoy Josh!

  3. Looks excellent. I noticed you’re using the traditional silver cup, which looks fabulous. I’ve always shied away from metal drink-ware, as I find they impart a nasty, metallic, almost battery-acid like taste to drinks. Does this happen with the mint julep?

  4. Ian I honestly haven’t noticed that. I think you want something silver plated preferably and I’d probably advise spending a little more to get something of decent quality. For me, it doesn’t improve the enjoyment – it’s just fun. But there is something wonderful seeing a nice thick crust of frost all over the glass. There’s a little charm to it that I find appealing. But a good julep in a plastic cup tastes great too!

  5. Michael says:

    When can we expect an old-fashioned recipe?

  6. Soon Michael – I need to knock one out here shortly. Stay tuned.