Many people think of the mint julep as a spring or summer drink, associated in particular with the Kentucky Derby. But the brightness of the mint with the warmth of the bourbon is just as appropriate in the fall and winter. The preferred serving vessel is the traditional pewter or silver mint julep cup, but a double old-fashioned glass is a good substitute.
We grow julep mint, a variety developed just for this iconic Southern cocktail, in the herb garden; it’s fragrant, delicious, easy to grow, and thrives in the Georgia climate. You can certainly use fresh mint from the farmers’ market, but mint is a great plant to grow at home, even for the beginning gardener. It’s almost impossible to kill!–Anne Stiles Quatrano
LC Julep Us! Note
We’re thinking about petitioning for the word “julep” to officially function as a verb as well as a noun. Allow us demonstrate what we’re thinking: Julep us! (What do you think?!)
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 5 M
- Makes 1 drink
Special Equipment: Muddler; julep cup (optional); silver julep spoon or a plain old straw
- 6 mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon granulated, superfine (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery), or turbinado sugar
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) cold water
- Ice, preferably crushed
- 2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) bourbon
- 1. Use a muddler to crush the mint leaves and sugar together in the bottom of a silver julep cup or tall glass. (You want to gently press and turn the mint to release the leaves’ essential oils and accompanying taste and aroma. The objective is not to pound the mint into oblivion.) Add the water and stir until the sugar dissolves. (Superfine sugar will dissolve the quickest, granulated sugar may take a little extra stirring and patience, and turbinado sugar may result in a lovely caramel flavor but with a few undissolved crystals.)
- 2. Mound the cup or glass with ice. Pour the bourbon over the ice, but do not stir. Serve with a silver julep spoon if you want to be all fancy. If you’re not so into appearances, a straw will do the trick just fine.