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National Mint Julep Day

May 30, 2013 By: Kristen Santoro

The Kentucky Derby may be over, but that’s no reason to stop sipping on a frosty mint julep especially today, National Mint Julep Day (or all summer long for that matter). A mint julep is a refreshing summer cocktail made with bourbon whiskey, water, sugar and, of course, mint. It’s served over saved ice in a silver or pewter cup.  

A secret trick that many bartenders use is to lightly “bruise” the mint before adding the other ingredients. This releases the herb’s distinctive aroma and flavor. Today, the mint julep continues to be associated with the southern region of the United States, most notably as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. [1]

Since 1938 Churchill Downs in association with the Kentucky Derby have been promoting the cocktail, and each year almost 120,000 juleps are served over the two-day event.

While the cocktail has been around for at least two centuries, first introduced by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay in the 1800s according to many sources, it doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. However, with the rise of fresh ingredients and herbs in cocktails, the mint julep is here to stay.

So, let’s celebrate!

The Early Times Mint Julep 
Courtesy of Early Times Distillery Co.

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Crushed ice
Early Times Kentucky Whisky
Silver Julep Cups

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

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[1] Punchbowl


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