With the current craze for reinvigorating old-school cocktails, we thought we’d share a recipe for one of our favorites - the classic Mint Julep. It’s cool, it’s refreshing, and it’s loaded with bourbon, what more could you ask for?
What you’ll need
Before you go inviting all your pals over for a Kentucky Derby viewing party (do people do that?), let’s make sure you’re fully prepared to serve this debonair intoxicant. Here’s what you’ll need:
- lemon juice (from a real lemon)
- muddler (don’t have one? Use the handle of a wooden spoon)
- mint leaves
- mint simple syrup (we'll show you...)
- rocks glass (or mint julep glass, if you have one)
Alright, now that you have your ingredients, get ready to taste the best mint julep you ever had!
For 1 mint julep cocktail, use:
- 1 part mint simple syrup
- 1/2 part lemon juice
- 5 - 6 fresh mint leafs
- 2 parts bourbon
- Bitters (1-4 dashes)
Step 1 - Make the mint simple syrup
Now, this is a little crazy, it’s a kind of recipe within a recipe! Most cocktails will require simple syrup, but we want a little extra minty zest, so we’re going to infuse our simple syrup with mint!
You’ll need a fair amount of mint leaves for this, so it’ll help if you grow your own. At any rate, you can buy mint leaves at most grocery stores.
- Add equal parts water and sugar in a pot and bring to a boil
- When the sugar is dissolved (usually at boil point), remove from heat
- Muddle mint leaves (about a handful) in a container with a tiny splash of water
- Pour (hot) simple syrup over mint leaves
- Steep leaves until syrup cools (optionally: steep for 10 minutes, then cool in refrigerator)
- Strain into sealable jar
You can make as much (or little) syrup as you like for this. I’d recommend using 1-2 cups of water and sugar, just remember to keep the ratio even. The syrup will last about a month in the refrigerator.
Step 2 - Juice the lemon
It always tastes best to use an actual lemon, rather than concentrate or any other store-bought lemon juice. I use an old school lemon juicer, but any means for getting the juice out of these suckers is fine. One lemon will make around 3 tablespoons of juice, or 3 mint juleps.
Step 3 - Get to mixing
Add about 5 mint leaves to a rocks glass, toss in the mint simple syrup and lemon juice, and muddle ‘em together. There’s no need to be rough, just “bruise” the leaves a little.
Step 4 - Finishing touches
We’re really moving now - pour in the bourbon, a few dashes of bitters, and give it a stir. Now throw in enough ice to bring the drink to the top of the glass (assuming you have a regular rocks glass) - almost there! Cap it off with a garnish by taking one last mint leaf and running it around the rim of the glass, then lay it on top and you have yourself a mint julep!
Enjoy the finer things
Pretty easy, eh? After you've made your batch of mint simple syrup, you can churn out these mint juleps in no time! We suggest wearing an old school '60s blazer (the one with the elbow patches), inviting over a few friends, firing up the Kentucky Derby, and of course - pair with a fine cigar.