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Mint Julep


posted: 04/26/24

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

With just three ingredients, you can’t beat the Mint Julep. It is perfect for Derby watching, of course, but you will love sipping on these all summer long.

Mint Juleps are the absolute perfect combination of Kentucky Bourbon, fresh mint leaves, and just a dash of simple syrup. As you may know, it is the preferred drink for watching the Kentucky Derby. But if you aren’t much for horse racing and beautiful hats, you will still love this fantastic and simple cocktail. It is always a hit at derby parties.

Mint Julep Ingredients

Here are the ingredients that make up the classic Mint Julep recipe. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full recipe including all measurements.

  • Simple syrup: Adds just enough sweetness to this drink. Read more on making your own Simple Syrup below.
  • Mint leaves: Like in a Mojito, fresh mint leaves are muddled to release their oils and infuse the best flavor. Buy extra fresh mint sprigs so you can garnish the glasses with them.
  • Bourbon: Use a good-quality whiskey that you truly love, as it makes up a good portion of the drink. My favorite is Knobb Creek. Visiting a local distillery is a great way to sample different whiskeys and find one that you enjoy.
  • Crushed ice: While I usually don’t consider ice to be an “ingredient” in a recipe, the Mint Julep is notorious for being served with crushed ice. Since there isn’t very much liquid in this cocktail, the ice melts into the drink and keeps it icy cold. To crush ice, place ice cubes in your blender and pulse for a few seconds or use a rolling pin to gently smash them. Shaved ice works well too.
cocktail muddler muddling mint in a glass showing how to make a mint julep. Two glasses and fresh mint leaves sitting in background

How to Make a Mint Julep

This refreshing derby day cocktail comes together in a snap. For the full recipe, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • Muddle mint and simple syrup. This releases the oils of the mint leaves to infuse into the cocktail. Just a gentle muddle is enough. If you don’t have a muddler, use the handle of a wooden spoon.
  • Add the bourbon. Top with lots of crushed ice and stir to combine.
  • Garnish and enjoy! Add a sprig of mint and enjoy.
cocktail jigger pouring bourbon whiskey into a glass to make a mint julep. Two glasses with whiskey and fresh mint leaves sitting in background.

Best Bourbon for Mint Juleps

Bourbon is a form of whisky. It is made primarily from corn and traditionally in Kentucky. So while all bourbon is whiskey, not all whiskey is bourbon.

When looking to purchase bourbon to make this great cocktail, there are options at ever price point. At the high end, and my personal favorite is Knob Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Four Roses Small Batch and Maker’s Mark are great mid-level bourbons. Though it sometimes gets a bad name, Wild Turkey is a great low end alternative.

Homemade Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is used to sweeten cocktails because it mixes with cold liquids better than straight sugar. And while you can buy a bottle of simple syrup from the store, it is so easy to make your own at home with sugar, water, and about 10 minutes of your time. Bonus, it’s cheaper than the store-bought stuff and can be stored in your refrigerator for up to one month.

Simple Syrup

Simple Syrup is essential for any home bar. With just two ingredients, it is so easy to make!
Photo of a spoon over a jar of Simple Syrup recipe. Lime wedges, cocktail jigger, and bottles of cointreau, gin, and bitters beside jar.

Mint Julep Cups

Traditionally this great cocktail is served in a silver julep cup, sometimes made of pewter. The metal of the cup allows a really gorgeous frost to form on the outside of the glass. These are just as delicious in regular glasses, but if you want to buy cups for your juleps, you can find great ones here.

three glasses of mint julep with crushed ice, fresh mint and a straw

Other Refreshing Cocktails

If you make this easy Mint Julep recipe or any of my other recipes, leave a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!

three glasses of mint julep with crushed ice, fresh mint and a straw
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Mint Julep

(tap # to scale)



  • In a small tumbler, muddle the simple syrup and mint leaves.
    4 to 8 mint leaves, 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • Add the bourbon. Top with crushed ice, and stir to combine.
    2 ounces bourbon
  • Garnish with more fresh mint and enjoy.
Author: Lisa Longley
three glasses of mint julep with crushed ice, fresh mint and a straw

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Mint Julep

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Zee says

    Yes..from the state of KY. Woodford Reserve traditionally used

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