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Derby Day Mint Julep Cocktail

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields fourteen cocktails.

There are as many variations of the mint julep as there are thoroughbreds that have run in the Kentucky Derby, which is when this sweet concoction is traditionally served. It’s often stirred with ice in a silver cup; this version calls for shaking with a slice of lemon for a frothy, refreshing drink.

Browse our Drinks and Entertaining Guide for more classic cocktails.


Mint syrup:

  • 25 fresh spearmint or apple mint leaves
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

For the juleps:

  • 3-1/2 quarts crushed ice
  • 3-1/2 cups bourbon (such as Maker’s Mark or Knob Creek)
  • 14 thin slices lemon
  • 14 sprigs spearmint or apple mint

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 160
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 0
  • Fat (g): 0
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 0
  • Carbohydrates (g): 8
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 0


Make the mint syrup:

  • In a small saucepan, stir the mint with the sugar and 3/4 cup water, crushing the mint lightly with the spoon. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool in the pan, about 30 minutes. Strain into a small container. Use immediately to make the cocktails or chill for up to 2 weeks.

For each cocktail:

  • Have a chilled 8- to 10-oz. cocktail or wine glass ready. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 Tbs. of the mint syrup with 1 cup ice, 1/4 cup bourbon, and a lemon slice. Shake for 30 seconds; pour into the chilled glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.


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