Cocktails: Mint Julep

The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs


The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs


If you do only two things this weekend, it should be: watch the most exciting two minutes in sports and drink a mint julep, perhaps the most refreshing cocktail in drinkland. The Kentucky Derby is an American classic, and over the course of the two-day event (the lesser known Kentucky Oaks takes place today) over 80,000 mint juleps will be consumed.  Having attended the Kentucky Derby several times (yes, big hat and all) I can attest that this estimate sounds a bit low.

A proper mint julep is served in this cup

A proper mint julep is served in this cup

The best mint julep that I’ve had in this city is found at Little Branch in the West Village, although I’m sure the bars I listed in my previous post about champagne cocktails all do a respectable version.  I love Little Branch’s julep because they serve it brimming with crushed ice (which helps cool the bourbon faster and dilutes it better) and in the silver cup, which develops a lovely little frost on the outside.  

If you’re making them at home or for a Derby party (have one!) follow this recipe from Saveur Magazine (although a great version can be found on Epicurious as well)

2 tbsp. superfine sugar
10 spearmint leaves, 
   plus extra for garnish
1–2 tbsp. Simple Syrup 
1/2 cup Kentucky bourbon

1. Put sugar on a plate. Moisten the rim of a glass (if you have a silver julep cup, that’s even better) with a damp towel. Press rim of glass into some of the sugar to coat.

2. Put leaves and simple syrup into glass. Crush leaves very gently with a pestle, just enough to bruise them. Fill to the brim with crushed ice, then pour in bourbon to cover ice. Stir one turn with a swizzle stick. Garnish with a leafy sprig of spearmint.



Filed under Entertaining, Libations

2 responses to “Cocktails: Mint Julep

  1. Joan

    I love the water dribbles on the little cup. A couple of those, some fried chicken and off to the races!

  2. Pingback: The Home Chef, the Man « at first bite

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s