The signature drink of the Kentucky Derby is the mint julep. It's a fantastic cocktail that's relatively simple to mix up and has influenced many other recipes.
Today's mint julep is a simple mix of bourbon whiskey, sugar, and fresh mint. According to David Wondrich's book, "Imbibe!," it has been around since the Revolutionary War, though it wasn't always made with bourbon; brandy and gin were also popular spirits for the drink. That same customization has continued over the years. From comparable classics to modern interpretations, drinks inspired by the julep are filled with a diverse mix of flavors.
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The classic recipe for a mint julep is very easy to create and you will enjoy its refreshing taste. It is, quite simply, a shot of your favorite bourbon poured over muddled mint and sugar. Don't forget the crushed ice.
For an authentic Kentucky Derby experience, pick up a silver julep cup. It's a small touch that adds elegance to the occasion and ensures your julep stays frosty cold.
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This classic whiskey recipe brings lemon into the mix, giving the drink a semi-tart background that is fascinating against the cool taste of fresh spearmint. It typically skips the crushed ice and makes a great option for race day.
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Though whiskey is essential to a mint julep, it's not the spirit of choice for everyone. If brandy is more your style, break with Derby Day tradition and mix up this classic drink.
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It's time to get peachy! The white peach julep recipe is quite fun and a simple twist on the original. Though white peaches are not always available, any peach will do for this drink.
The bourbon of choice here is the ultra smooth Maker's Mark, which has just enough sweetness to complement the fruit. The julep's sugar is replaced with a peach liqueur and the peach bitters are the perfect finishing touch.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Bulleit Bourbon is rather bold and will definitely not get lost in any julep. It gets even more daring when you infuse the snappy spice of fresh ginger into the whiskey.
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The mint julep should not be reserved for that one Saturday in May when the horses run at Churchill Downs. It's fantastic any time of year. And yet, if you're in the mood for one in autumn, a recipe like the Tully 10 cider is just a little more appropriate for the season.
This fascinating cocktail opts for a nice Irish whiskey and retains the mint and syrup. The seasonal ingredient is apple cider—either hard or nonalcoholic—which does surprisingly well against a couple of mint leaves. It's an adventure for the flavor curious.
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Using the gin smash as inspiration, the eye candy will surely tantalize your taste buds. This modern drink will create quite the buzz at your Derby watching party and it's a lot of fun to mix up.
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This recipe also pairs the floral taste of elderflower with fresh mint, but it adds fresh cucumber to the muddle. It's topped off with a splash of ginger beer, which gives a nice kick to the drink, leaving you with a cocktail you will not forget anytime soon.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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There's one more non-whiskey drink that's an excellent alternative and it's probably the easiest of the lot. The Combier royal smash features the delightfully sweet flavor of Royal Combier, an orange liqueur that can easily become a new staple in your bar.
The lemon in this recipe makes it more of a whiskey smash. Yet, you will find that the citrus and mint are the perfect complements to the liqueur.
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