With the Kentucky Derby right around the corner I thought it was about time that I start perfecting my mint julep skills. This iconic drink is so simple to make, yet there are a few tricks that will make your juleps a guaranteed winner. For instance, I highly recommend purchasing a few julep cups. I ordered mine via KegWorks. Not only do they look awesome, but they’re just the right size and the metal will make/keep your drink extra cold . . . perfect for a hot, humid day at the races.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1/2 oz rich simple syrup (2:1 sugar to water)
  • 20 mint leaves
  • crushed ice
  • large sprig of mint for garnish

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Start by removing the mint leaves from their stems and place in the bottom of the julep cup. Add simple syrup and muddle very lightly. If you don’t have a muddler you can use the back of a spoon. The goal is not to break apart the mint, but rather to release the oils from the mint, infusing the simple syrup with mint flavor.

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Next, add the bourbon and fill half of the julep cup with crushed ice. Stir using a bar spoon or swizzle stick so that the mint, syrup, bourbon and ice are thoroughly mixed. I crushed my ice in a food processor, but you can also use a blender or a lewis bag and mallet as seen here:

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Now that all of the ingredients have been added and you’ve given a quick stir, add even more ice. You’ll want to fill with crushed ice up and over the rim of the julep cup.

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At this point your drink will be ice-cold, and your cup frosty with condensation.

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Lastly, garnish with a large sprig of mint. Place your straw next to the garnish so you can smell the fresh mint while you sip.

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(images by HonestlyYUM)