A classic favorite that never goes out of style, the Mint Julep cocktail emerged from the Southern United States during the 18th Century. Since then, it's become the cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, promoted as such by Churchill Downs since 1938.
Whether you're hosting a Kentucky Derby party at home, or just want to give this long-loved American sip a try, use the classic recipe below. You can adapt the recipe to turn it into a mocktail for non-alcohol drinkers and your kids, too. Follow the second recipe we give to do so.
Classic Mint Julep Cocktail Recipe
2 ounces bourbon
Long dash of simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar, boiled together and cooled)
Fresh Mint Leaves
Some Shaved Ice
Sprig of Mint for garnish
In the bottom of a highball glass, muddle your mint. You can use a spoon. Once muddled, add in the bourbon, simple syrup and cover with shaved ice.
Garnish with the sprig of mint.
NOTE: If this drink is still too strong, a liberal splash of club soda on top goes a long way!
Mint Julep Mocktail Recipe
This is a great alternative for guests who don't drink alcohol, but would like to enjoy a classic Mint Julep cocktail.
As with our cocktail version, muddle your mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker for the mocktail version.
Add in the simple syrup to achieve desired sweetness and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for the complimentary tang.
Pour your mint mixture into a highball filled with crushed ice and top with the ginger ale. Garnish with a sprig of mint.