Classic Bourbon Mint Julep Cocktail Recipe

Mint julep
Claire Cohen
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)

Anyone who is into horse racing will be familiar with this one as it is the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby during which some 80,000 juleps are served. Traditionally, Mint Juleps are served in silver or pewter cups and held by the handle or rim in order for the cup to maintain optimum frost, but they work just as well in any tall glass.

Beyond the bourbon, sugar, and mint, the only other requirement for this drink is crushed ice. Any other form of ice will not create the same effect, so take the time to create a nice mound of crushed ice before mixing this cocktail.

As an alternative to muddling the mint and sugar cube, you can also infuse a sugar syrup with mint. With this much bourbon in a drink, slow sipping is the appropriate way to imbibe.

There are also many variations of this popular cocktail: 10 Mint Julep Recipes.


Watch Now: Classic Bourbon Mint Julep


Steps to Make It

  1. Place the mint and simple syrup or sugar into a julep cup, collins glass, or double old-fashioned glass.

  2. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and to release the oil and aroma of the mint.

  3. Add the bourbon.

  4. Fill with crushed ice and stir well until the glass becomes frosty.

  5. Garnish with the mint sprig.


  • Gently muddle your mint. You want to open up the veins of the mint leaves to release the essential oils, not tear the leaves to bits that get stuck in your teeth.
  • Crushed ice is key. Making crushed ice (without a machine) is another use for your muddler: place ice cubes in a Lewis bag or wrapped in a towel and whack the heck out of it until your cubes become finely crushed ice. (This is a wonderful and safe stress reliever).​
  • Stir well. Once you have the drink built, take the time to stir it gently until the glass gets frosty.
  • Pour your favorite bourbon. If you have a favorite brand of bourbon, use it or something similar. It is best to choose one of the higher end brands for the simple fact that bourbon is the only liquid in the julep. Though it is sweetened and flavored with sugar and mint, the whiskey is primarily what you will taste.