Recipe: Mint Julep

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This cocktail is arguably the quintessential beverage of the Kentucky Derby. To serve, use a 10- to 14-ounce Collins glass or silver cup.

    • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
    • 4 to 6 sprigs of mint
    • ½ to ¾ ounce simple syrup
    • crushed ice

Add mint to bottom of glass. Add simple syrup and gently muddle mint into syrup, rubbing around the edges of the glass. Do not over-muddle the mint.

Discard excess mint, leaving syrup behind. Fill glass halfway with crushed ice. Add bourbon. Jiggle ingredients but do not stir. Add crushed ice on top until mound forms. You may add an additional quarter-ounce of simple syrup over mound if you desire.

Garnish with large mint sprig and dust with powdered sugar.

Then when it is made, sip it slowly.
August suns are shining,
the breath of the south wind is upon you.
It is fragrant, cold and sweet— it is seductive.
No maiden's kiss is tenderer or more refreshing,
no maiden's touch could be more passionate.
Sip it and dream—you cannot dream amiss.
Sip it and dream—it is a dream itself.
No other land can give so sweet solace for your cares;
no other liquor soothes you in melancholy days
Sip it and say there is no solace for the soul,
no tonic for the body like old Bourbon whiskey.
- Joshua Soule Smith


To read Derek's account of the Mint Julep's history and few tips for preparing a proper version of the drink, click here.

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Derek Brown is a writer, illustrator, bartender, and co-owner of acclaimed bars The Passenger and Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. He sits on the board of directors for the Museum of the American Cocktail. More

Derek Brown is a writer, illustrator, bartender, and co-owner of acclaimed bars The Passenger and Columbia Room in Washington, D.C. He travels throughout the country and around the world in search of great drinks, and the stories behind them. Derek's methodical approach to cocktails was profiled in the Wall Street Journal's "A Master of Mixological Science" and his martini lauded as the best in America by GQ. He's been in numerous media outlets featuring his approach to better drinking, including CNN, The Rachel Maddow Show and FOX. Derek is a founding member of the D.C. Craft Bartender's Guild and on the board of directors for the Museum of the American Cocktail.
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