Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe

No Derby Party is complete without the Mint Julep which has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century.  Easy to make and delicious, just remember this is bourbon with little sugar and mint, so it’s strong and will sneak up on you quickly.  Plan on having other beverage alternatives like sweet mint tea or mint sparkling water.

Mint Julep

Course: Appetizer, cocktails, Drinks
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 64 kcal
No Derby Party is complete without the Mint Julep which has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century.


  • 2 Cups sugar
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 bunches Fresh mint
  • Crushed ice
  • Bourbon or Kentucky Whiskey Early Times Kentucky Whiskey, was the official bourbon of the Derby for years today it's Old Forester and Woodford Reserve.
  • Silver Julep Cups optional - but it is the tradition


  1. Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes.
  2. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight

  3. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whiskey, Old Forester or go ultra-premium and use Woodford Reserve.

  4. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Recipe Notes


You can make a pitcher by adding one tablespoon of mint simple syrup and 2 oz of Kentucky Whiskey for each serving.  Do not add ice until ready to serve.

Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Old Forester makes an Old Forester Mint Julep that can be used to jump-start your mint Julep making - here's the recipe from the Derby website



Nutrition Facts
Mint Julep
Amount Per Serving
Calories 64
% Daily Value*
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 1mg0%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Sugar 16g18%
Vitamin A 15IU0%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 1mg0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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