A mint julep is a classic cocktail that has been traditionally associated with the American South, particularly the Kentucky Derby. It is a refreshing and simple drink, typically made with just a few ingredients. Here is a basic recipe:


  • Mint leaves: Fresh spearmint is the traditional choice.
  • Bourbon: A high-quality bourbon whiskey is preferred.
  • Sugar: Simple syrup or powdered sugar can be used.
  • Crushed ice: Essential for the proper texture and temperature of the drink.
  • Water: Sometimes added to dilute the strength slightly.


  1. Prepare the mint: Place a few mint leaves at the bottom of a julep cup or a tall glass. Add a teaspoon of sugar (or simple syrup) and a splash of water.
  2. Muddle: Gently muddle the mint and sugar together to release the mint’s essential oils. Be careful not to over-muddle, as this can make the mint taste bitter.
  3. Add ice: Fill the cup halfway with crushed ice.
  4. Pour bourbon: Add a generous serving of bourbon (about 2-3 ounces).
  5. Stir: Stir the mixture to combine the ingredients and chill the drink.
  6. Top with ice: Fill the cup to the top with more crushed ice, creating a mound.
  7. Garnish: Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and, optionally, a dusting of powdered sugar on top.

The mint julep is best enjoyed very cold, and the crushed ice helps to achieve the ideal temperature and dilution. The drink’s refreshing mint flavor combined with the robust character of the bourbon makes it a perfect summer cocktail.

Image from Wikipedia