The Mint Julep is as synonymous with the Kentucky Derby as horses and hats. Honey-colored, mint-laced bourbon, fragrant and cold. It’s the perfect ode to the pomp and circumstance.
According to officials at the Kentucky Derby, nearly 120,000 Mint Juleps are served at Churchill Downs over Derby weekend. That’s a feat that requires more than 10,000 bottles of Early Times Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.
You, of course, will make yours on a smaller scale, which enables you to make it the proper way – from scratch and served in handsome glassware. This recipe from Food & Wine makes one drink at a time, but you’ll have enough simple syrup on hand to serve a small crowd.
Courtesy of Food & Wine
8 mint leaves, plus mint sprigs for garnish
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup (see below)
2 ounces bourbon, preferably overproof
In a chilled julep cup or fizz glass, muddle the mint leaves and Simple Syrup. Add the bourbon and crushed ice. Set a swizzle stick or bar spoon in the cup and spin between your hands to mix. Top with additional crushed ice and garnish with the mint sprigs.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely. MAKE AHEAD: The syrup can be refrigerated in a glass jar for up to 1 month.
So grab your hat – and maybe one for your pooch, too – and savor the Derby’s fabulous signature drink in style.
Shown clockwise from top left: Cosmopolitan Bar Cart, Schott Zwiesel Comete Barware, Monogrammed Coasters and Beverage Napkins, Rose Nosegay Bouquet, Leather Decanters & Ice Bucket Set, Hand-hammered Copper Elegance Beverage Tub