Mint Julep: Cocktail How-to

In Alcoholic, Beverages, Recipes by Greg MaysLeave a Comment

SimpleCocktails-by-JNP-55Every year at Kentucky Derby time, you start to see Mint Julep recipes popping up in your social feeds. The great thing about the Julep is that it’s got a very simple ingredient list: bourbon sugar, and mint, but the steps for preparing a Julep, and the required tools, can be quite overwhelming. I’ve provided all the steps here, with all the proper tools, to make an official Julep, but feel free to adjust for your budget and laziness accordingly. I’ve provided Amazon links to everything I used below, and while none of this is required, it’ll really help you to make a proper Julep.

Before you get started, it’s time to go mint shopping. Spearmint is the traditional Julep mint, and it’s also an aggressive perennial. When you buy your first spearmint plant, pick the mint you need for your Julep, then plant the rest in a pot in the back yard and water it occasionally. Mine have served me well for 4-5 years!

SimpleCocktails-by-JNP-39Step 1: take a Lewis bag filled with ice and smash it to tiny bits using a wooden mallet. The Lewis Bag prevents the ice from being “wet” by wicking the water away as you crush it.



SimpleCocktails-by-JNP-43Step 2: Next take a nickel or silver julep cup and fill it with 15-20 mint leaves and 1/2 oz of simple syrup. Muddle them gently together for 30 seconds and add a scoop of crushed ice to the cup. Stir well.


SimpleCocktails-by-JNP-50Step 3: Add 3 oz bourbon whiskey to the cup and stir more. Add more crushed ice, this time almost to the top. Stir more. Your shiny julep cup should start looking like mine in the photo: frosty and cold! Top once more with crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig and cocktail straws. Optionally, you can dust the top of the Julep with powdered sugar. Here’s the recipe list once more:

Mint Julep
Author: Heat Scale: None
  • 3 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 15-20 mint leaves and a sprig for garnish

Greg Mays is the Managing Editor of Photography of Greg by Jasmine Pulley.


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Cocktail Editor | Greg is the classic cocktail aficionado and recipe developer at Simple Cocktails, his “place for the intimidated home bartender to shed some fear.”

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