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Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe

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Looking for a refreshing and easy-to-make cocktail? Look no further than our beloved Kentucky Mint Julep recipe. My family’s version of this classic cocktail has the perfect balance of bourbon, sweetness and minty freshness – making it a favorite among both experienced cocktail enthusiasts and those new to the world of mixology. With our tried-and-true recipe, you’ll be able to easily whip up a crowd-pleasing batch of delicious Mint Juleps.

  • Prep Time: 2 mins
  • Chilling time:: 120 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 12 or more servings 1x


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup + 1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves, divided use (plus sprigs for garnish)
  • 1 bottle good bourbon (Mom preferred Jack Daniels)
  • Ice


  1. Make a simple syrup: bring water to a boil; reduce heat to simmer and stir in sugar. Continue cooking, until until sugar dissolves and water is no longer cloudy (doesn’t take very long). Stir in mint, crushing mint leaves with your stirring spoon. Remove from heat, cover, let cool and refrigerate for several hours or overnight (the longer the better) to allow the mint flavor to steep into the syrup.
  2. Place a few mint leaves in the bottom of each mint julep cup, and crush with a muddler (or back of a spoon). Fill each cup with lots of ice (to the top). Add 3 ounces (1/3 cup) of bourbon, 3 to 4 tablespoons of the mint simple syrup (or more to taste).
  3. Add a sprig of fresh mint to each glass and serve.


Make ahead: Minted simple syrup can be made up to 1 month ahead. To store, after 48 hours of steeping in the refrigerator, strain out the mint leaves and discard. Place syrup back in a covered container and refrigerate. It will last for around 1 month.

  • Author: From "A Well-Seasoned Kitchen®" by Sally Clayton and Lee Clayton Roper
  • Category: cocktails, make ahead
  • Cuisine: Southern