How to Make a Mint Julep

Here’s a tutorial on this all-important Derby Day skill.

The Mint Julep has been associated with Kentucky Derby festivities since the 1930s. Each year almost 120,000 of these classic Southern cocktails are served at Churchill Downs over Kentucky Derby weekend. According to, “That’s a feat that requires more than 10,000 bottles of Old Forester Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.”

The Derby’s official recipe has varied over the years, depending on its bourbon sponsor. Here’s the most recent version, which features Old Forester Kentucky Bourbon:

The Old Forester Mint Julep Recipe
  • Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Old Forester Kentucky Bourbon. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
  • Crushed ice
  • Old Forester Kentucky Bourbon
  • Silver Julep Cups

A Google search will turn up any number of variations on the theme, but for our intents and purposes, here’s an easy-to-follow, no-frills tutorial on the classic:

Go Riding!


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