Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

The first shoots of mint have sprung through the soil as if sensing the approach of the Kentucky Derby. The sun is out here in Cleveland, the birds are chirping, and the Browns made sensible draft choices. 

All of which call for a mint julep this weekend. In my first post on this drink several springs ago, I served a somewhat unconventional julep and was roundly taken to task for it (no crushed ice? in a glass?). Deservedly. So herewith an almost traditional version, which is simply mint leaves, muddled with sugar, and bourbon, served over crushed ice in a silver cup.

My only variation is for serving multiple juleps. A great strategy if you’ve invited people for Derby Day. Some may find the verdant hue unnerving but it’s worth it for the clean mint flavor and you don’t get fragments of mint stuck in your teeth.

Happy Spring Friday!

The Aggressive Mint Julep

This is a make-ahead version so you don’t have to muddle mint for each guest. A Vita-Mix works best but a blender will do.

  • 5 to 10 mint leaves per serving plus more for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons sugar per serving
  • 3 ounces bourbon per serving
  • plenty of crushed ice
  1. Combine the mint, sugar, and just enough bourbon to make a good puree of the mint with the blender running. Add the remaining bourbon, and blend some more.
  2. Strain the elixir through an All-Strain cloth or cheesecloth into a serving pitcher.
  3. To serve, fill glasses with crushed ice, fill with bourbon, and garnish with mint.

If you liked this post on the mint julep, check out these other links:

© 2015 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2015 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


11 Wonderful responses to “An Aggressive Mint Julep Recipe”

  • Joe in N. Calif.

    Um….the way that reads, you make the minted mix and just let it sit.

    The “julep” seems to be bourbon on ice with a sprig of mint for garnish.

    Might want to change it to something like “Fill glasses with ice, fill with sweetened, minted bourbon, garnish and serve.

    Not, of course, that there is anything at all wrong with a glass of bourbon over ice with a sprig of mint.

  • Allen

    The original post had a link in the comments to a bartender at the Ritz Carlton New Orleans, I review it and tell others about it when the topic is mint juleps.

    I am celebrating Cinco De Mayo this weekend and next. A household tradition to celebrate significant anniversaries and hollidays the weekend before and the weekend after when it falls during the week.
    Seven easy to make sauces, salsas,home de green chorizo, red chorizo and guacamole. And perhaps a mint julep shall be I order, if we don’t over do it with mezcal

  • Chad Thompson

    Looking for any insights and suggestions here, not trying to be critical, etc.

    Does it make sense to use a high end bourbon like Maker’s Mark for these? Maker’s is a great bourbon for sipping.

    If I was going to mix something with a sugar and mint puree I would probably go with a lower grade product like Jim Beam.

  • Allen

    Hmmm … Tags, you’ve brought up an excellent point.
    May is the 5th month, Cinco de Mayo falls on the 5th day, this being 2015, 5 goes into 15, 3 times.

    So by that logic, similar to 4-20, at exactly 5pm on the 5th of May it will be time for 3 lovely tequila drinks or shots.
    Or would that be 5 drinks?
    Screw it, let’s make it 5.

  • Carol Melancon

    You can also steep the mint leaves in simple syrup while it’s cooling, then strain. That also avoids the green flecks and (perhaps) bitterness since the leaves aren’t pulverized. It will be brown rather than green, but the bourbon hides that nicely.

  • Edward Brumby

    I like to make a simple syrup with mint leaves steeped in it. Then a mixture of about 2 and 1/2 bourbon to 1 part simple syrup over crushed ice. It should be served in a very chilled pewter mug and adorned with a sprig or two of mint. I do find that the taste of the bourbon comes through, so it is good to use a nice bourbon. For some reason I find Woodford Reserve makes a very good julep. While I like Maker’s and W. L. Weller, I don’t think a wheated bourbon is right for the julep.

  • Onlyessential

    I LIKE this delicious and healthy recipeMint Julep. Yummy, yummy, yummy. I like the combination of muddled with sugar, and bourbon, served over crushed ice, it’s all perfect. I cannot wait to try this and I know my friends also love this. I love also your other recipes. Thanks for this amazing recipe.