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.