On May 3rd the Kentucky Derby will take place. It will be the 140th running in its storied history. Along with the many stylish hats another staple is the mint julep. It has been said that over 120,000 mint juleps are served during the Kentucky Derby each year. With that large number it is no wonder that this cocktail is a main staple during the race day.
Since the cocktail’s creation there have been many different variations to the mint julep. If you are looking to enjoy watching the Kentucky Derby with friends I wanted to share a few different variations on the traditional derby drink. So enjoy the Kentucky Derby and may the horse you choose cross the finish line first.
Georgia Peach Julep
1.3 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
2/3 oz. Peach Brandy
1 tsp. granulated sugar
5-6 mint leaves
Julep cup or rocks glass
Muddle mint leaves, sugar, and splash of water in a julep cup or rocks glass. Add Bulleit Bourbon, peach brandy, splash of water, and fill cup with crushed ice and stir. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and peach slice, add a small drinking straw, and serve with a napkin.
Mint Julep Modern by Dale DeGroff
1.3 oz Bulleit Bourbon
0.75 oz Simple syrup or a teaspoon sugar
4 Mint leaves and a sprig of Mint (Use tender, young sprigs- last longer and look better)
Prepare some very cold very dry powdered ice with chunks of ice and a canvas ice bag. Bruise the mint leaves in the bottom of a julep cup with sugar syrup. Add ice to the three quarter mark and half of the bourbon. Stir to chill the julep cup. Top off with more powdered ice and the remaining bourbon and continue to stir until the outside of the cup begins to freeze. Garnish with the mint sprig and set aside to rest while the julep cup freezes over on the outside. Pick up carefully to imbibe
Mint Julep Recipe 1862 (from “How to Mix Drinks” by Jerry Thomas and Adapted by Dale DeGroff)
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons water
3 sprigs fresh mint
1.3 oz Cognac
2 Dashes high quality rum
Dissolve the sugar into the water in a tall glass or a silver chalice julep cup. Add the mint and press gently in the sugared water to extract the flavor; remove the sprigs and set aside for the garnish. Add the cognac and then fill with powdered ice. Place the mint into the drink stem side down and dash with the rum. Set the drink aside for five minutes to frost.
Whiskey Smash (from “A Smash is Julep on a small plan” Jerry Thomas Adapted by Dale DeGroff)
1.3 oz Bulleit Bourbon
4 mint leaves and one sprig of mint
Cut a lemon in half then quarter and use three of the quarters in the drink
1-ounce simple syrup
Muddle all ingredients except whiskey in a bar glass. Add whiskey and shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass and garnish with a sprig of mint and a lemon wheel.