Kentucky Mint Julep Recipe: The Signature KY Derby Cocktail

August 27, 2020
Mint Julep Recipe by JC Phelps

Hey, y’all! The Kentucky Derby, as I’ve said many times before, is my favorite holiday. As such, I wanted to share a classic Kentucky Mint Julep Recipe!

Unfortunately, this is a nontraditional racing year and fans are not allowed at the track. Usually, I spend all week at Churchill Downs celebrating the finest showing of sweet, southern, Kentucky culture.

That said, I won’t let the pandemic dull my shine: I’m celebrating the Kentucky Derby at home.

How To Make a 2020 Kentucky Mint Julep Cocktail

There are many Kentucky Derby recipes that one can make (might I recommend my “Better Than MeeMaw’s Pimento Cheese?), but there’s one thing that must be a part of your Derby Party menu: a classic Mint Julep!

How To Make a 2020 Kentucky Mint Julep Cocktail

The Recipe

Kentucky Mint Julep


2.5 oz. Bourbon

4-5 Mint Leaves

3/4 oz. Simple Syrup

Crushed Ice


  1. Pour simple syrup into a Derby glass.
  2. Add mint leaves and muddle to extract the flavor.
  3. Fill cup with crushed ice (almost to the top).
  4. Add bourbon.
  5. Stir and enjoy!

The History of the Mint Julep

The Mint Julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1938, though its history is much more expansive. It was first mentioned in print in 1803; It’s also said that KY Senator Henry Clay made the drink popular in Washington, D.C. at the Round Robin Bar around 1850.

The notoriety doesn’t end there, either — many presidents have fancied the Mint Julep and many writers have made them popular in their works, such as novelists Margaret Mitchell and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Fun Fact

The Clovers paid tribute to the drink in “One Mint Julep” and Ray Charles took the song to the top of the charts about a decade later. How fun is that?

Happy Derby, y’all!

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,


RELATED: Did you enjoy this Kentucky Mint Julep recipe? For more cocktail inspiration, click here.

How To Make a 2020 Kentucky Mint Julep Cocktail

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