Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe

classic Kentucky Derby mint julep recipe

This past weekend, we took a few days to enjoy nearby Louisville, Kentucky for the Derby kickoff festivities. We had a lot of fun exploring the city that’s just 4 hours East of St. Louis and getting into the Derby spirit. Upon arriving to tour Churchill Downs, we learned that opening day race was the following evening and decided to take part and purchased tickets. Of course a shopping trip for hats ensued. Over our 4 day getaway, we tried several mint juleps – I was determined to like them. The first, served at a restaurant we loved, was mounded like a snow cone, leaving the bourbon at the bottom without a way to stir it. Others fell short as well. In all honesty, I’m not much of a bourbon girl, but I really wanted to get in the spirit. I tried one last mint julep at Churchill Downs just before the first race and finally realized what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t served in copper or pewter, but a plain old glass. A Kentucky Derby glass, to be exact. Yet this plain and simple mint julep tasted better than every sip I had tried before, proving once again, sometimes simple is simply the best.

the best mint julep recipe

The Kentucky Derby Mint Julep recipe is made with a mint simple syrup, crushed ice {actually, ice shavings like I’ve never seen before}, Old Forester Kentucky Bourbon and a mint sprig. They were so good that Chris and I shared 4 of them over the course of a few hours. I was amazed to hear that 120,000 are served in just 2 days! That’s a lot of yum.

the best mint julep recipe

You can find more Kentucky Derby recipes here but don’t even think you’re about to find the true Derby pie recipe anywhere – it’s under lock and key, even the use of the name.

classic Kentucky Derby mint julep recipe

First, you’ll need to make a mint simple syrup. Don’t worry, it’s really easy and takes just a few minutes. Then, you’re ready to mix cocktails in a minute.

Boil 1 c sugar and 1 c water for 5 minutes, until clear. Remove from heat and add 4 sprigs of mint and allow to cool. Refrigerate until use.

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe

Prep Time 1 min Total Time 0:01
Serves 1     adjust servings


  • crushed ice
  • 1 Tbsp mint simple syrup
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 sprig of mint


  1. Fill glass with crushed ice.
  2. Add one tablespoon {or more to your liking} of simple syrup.
  3. Add 2 oz bourbon and stir rapidly to frost the outside of the glass.
  4. Add 1 sprig of mint. {we liked crushing it down into the glass for more flavor.


classic Kentucky Derby mint julep recipe

Who knew that I could enjoy Bourbon? I love that this drink is just as much about the process and tradition as it is the mint julep itself. Enjoy!

entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner


  • Jenny says:

    Hi Julie

    Looks delicious. The recipe says mint simple syrup. When I click on the simple syrup recipe it doesn’t mention anything about mint. Should you add some mint when cooking the simple syrup?



  • Jenny says:

    Sorry I just read the text!!! Add mint while cooling. Ta 🙂

  • Foodie says:

    So delightful! Must be delicious as well as it’s adorable looks! Great job and thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Frances Weeks says:

    But which mint??? Spearmint, peppermint, … there are probably 50 mints out there!!!

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