How to Make the Perfect Mint Julep

Mint Julep Ingredients

I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Kentucky Derby and all of the festivities surrounding it back in 2019 and I cannot wait to go back some day! It was such a fun few days and one of my more memorable trips to date. While it wasn’t in the cards to attend this year, rest assured I’ll be watching from home and celebrating in style this weekend!

The Kentucky Derby is always the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville. It’s dubbed “The Run for the Roses,” stemming from the blanket of roses draped over the winner after the race. You’ve probably heard the phrases “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” or “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” because of just how quickly the race starts and finishes… Which just makes it all the more suspenseful and exciting! The Old Forester Mint Julep is the Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby and is synonymous with this coming weekend, the first Saturday in May.

Vineyard Vines Dress Kentucky Derby

I’ve mentioned before how I was surprised to realize I liked bourbon a few years ago, but let me just paint the picture of my first Mint Julep experience… I was in my early twenties living in NYC and two of my besties came to visit me over the Derby weekend. I found out about a party package on a swanky hotel rooftop so we all bought tickets and dressed up for the occasion! Let’s just say that we were expecting a luxury experience and felt like we were at a frat party… 😂

I remember watching the bartender pour cheap bourbon over some ice and stick some mint leaves in the cup before sliding the clear plastic cup across the bar… It tasted as college-like as it looked.

Fast forward to attending the Derby a few years ago… I had a properly prepared Mint Julep and – surprise, surprise – I was blown away by how much I liked it. It’s all about the preparation folks!

Kentucky Derby Party Mint Juleps

First thing’s first – it’s all about the crushed ice. Why does crushed ice matter so much? If you think back to science class, crushed ice has more surface area than a traditional ice cube. It will cool a drink more quickly and the drink will also get watery a bit faster! Since a Mint Julep only contains Old Forester Bourbon and Simple Syrup in terms of liquid ingredients, the watery nature of crushed ice makes a world of a difference.

Mint Julep Cup with Crushed Ice

While bars and restaurants usually have a crushed ice maker, you usually have to make your own at home since it’s virtually impossible to buy. This article gives you a couple of ways to make it with or without a blender! Or a crushed ice tray like this definitely helps.

Mint Julep Recipe

Ingredients to Make a Mint Julep

How to Make a Mint Julep with Muddled Mint

Making a Mint Julep

  1. Pack a mint julep cup with crushed ice.
  2. In a mixing glass, combine bourbon, simple syrup, and mint leaves.
  3. Lightly bruise mint leaves with a muddler.
  4. Strain contents into your julep cup.
  5. Garnish with 3 generous sprigs of mint. Be sure to slap your mint!
  6. Serve with a straw. Make sure to insert your straw into the ice right near the mint sprigs!

Couldn’t be easier if you’ve got plenty of mint and the right tools! Mint Juleps are so refreshing on a warm day, and hopefully we’ve got way more of those headed our way soon.

Happy Derby Weekend, friends!

Old Forester Mint Julep Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby Party at Home

Don’t forget to use code OLDFOJS to get $10 towards your purchase of Old Forester on Drizly. Cheers!

Mint Julep with Old Forester Bourbon

Old Forester Mint Julep Recipe

Women's Fascinator for Kentucky Derby

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