Derby time is the perfect time for light airy drinks made to slowly sip on while sitting on the front porch–The Mint Julep is the perfect drink for just that!
The Mint Julep was originally concocted as medicine in the 1700s, used to cure stomach sicknesses. The fresh mint helped to soothe the stomach, and the bourbon (or even gin in the old days) to calm the patient. Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, brought the drink to Washington D.C., particularly the Round Robin Bar, in the 1850’s during his term, and the drink skyrocketed from there.
Traditionally, Mint Juleps were served in silver or pewter cups, only held at the top or bottom to keep the drink as cold as possible. They are most commonly served in a highball or an Old Fashioned glass.
Today, Mint Juleps bring to mind the Kentucky Derby and Southern Springtimes. Mint Juleps have even become the official drink of the Churchill Downs Horse Race, serving over 120,000 over the two-day race events. Although in Kentucky they prefer Kentucky whiskey over bourbon.
So whether you’ve got a stomachache or just want a refreshing springtime drink, try our recipe for the Perfect Southern Mint Julep!
- 1 Ounce Minted Simple Syrup (*See additional Recipe Below)
- 2 Cups Crushed Ice
- 2 Ounces Bourbon (or Early Times Kentucky Whiskey for an authentic Derby drink)
- Fresh Mint Sprig
Simple Minted Syrup:
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Bunch Fresh Mint
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Increase heat slightly, then simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take the pan off the heat, add mint leaves, and steep for 15 minutes. Strain, then refrigerate syrup until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be prepared ahead of time.)
In a highball glass or silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon/whiskey, and a splash of water. Add enough of the remaining ice to almost fill the glass. Stir well and garnish with a mint sprig.
Enjoy! Preferably on a breezy, front porch!