Kentucky Derby Mint Julep

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This Kentucky Derby Mint Julep is an easy cocktail to celebrate the Race for the Roses!

This Kentucky Derby Mint Julep is one of the top 10 bourbon cocktails.  It’s incredibly easy to make (I’ll even show you a short cut) and is the perfect cocktail for watching the Kentucky Derby.

This quick cocktail is one of my favorite Kentucky Derby party recipes.  It’s a traditional drink that originated in the South.  Today, it’s synonymous with the Race for the Roses.

You can easily make Mint Julep with only a few simple ingredients and it only take a few minutes.

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep

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Best Mint Julep Recipe

This easy and simple cocktail is probably the best Mint Julep recipe you will ever try.  It’s a refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for watching the Kentucky Derby – whether it’s in person or at a viewing party.

Recently, I spent the day with Jackie from WNEP’s Home & Backyard creating fun Horse Cookies and this quick Mint Julep recipe.  We were all gussied up in our Sunday best, complete with pearls and hats making some fun treats to help celebrate the Kentucky Derby.

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Best Mint julep recipe

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race held on the first Saturday in May in at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

The race, often referred to as ”The Run for the Roses” got its name because a blanket of roses is draped over the winning thoroughbred.

The entire race lasts for only 2 minutes and is the first part of the American Triple Crown.  The Kentucky Derby is followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. A horse must win all three races in order to win the Triple Crown.

kentucky derby party recipes

The mint julep, an iced cocktail made of of bourbonmint, and a simple syrup, is the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby. The historic drink is traditionally served in a frosted silver julep cup and served on silver trays.

We also made cute (and easy) Horse Cookies in honor of the special race.

How to Make this Quick Mint Julep Recipe

Making this quick Mint Julep recipe couldn’t be easier.  It starts with a simple syrup that’s infused with mint.  Making a simple syrup is very simple.  You simply cook down equal parts of sugar and water until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly. To infuse it with mint, simply add some fresh mint leaves while it’s cooking.

top 10 bourbon cocktails

It’s Easy to Make Mint Julep

Once you have your simple syrup, you simply combine it with a good Kentucky bourbon.  The syrup sweetens the cocktail and adds the distinct mint flavor you would expect from its name.

Kentucky Derby Mint Jules are traditionally served in a silver glasses like this filled to the brim with crushed ice and presented on a silver tray.  This is by far my favorite Kentucky Derby party recipe.  And, is one of my favorite bourbon cocktails recipe (it’s right up there with my Mom’s Bourbon Slush recipe).

Tips for Making a Kentucky Derby Mint Julep

This is definitely one of the top 10 bourbon cocktails and it’s very easy to make.  Here are some tips to help you get it right:

  • I’ve found the easiest way to crush ice is to use my blender.  You can make big batches in no time.
  • If you don’t have time to make your own simple syrup, you can use this.  It’s a real time saver.
  • If you’re making a big batch of Mint Juleps, you can use this.

Looking for More Cocktail Recipes? 

Looking for more?  Check out all of the Cocktail Recipes on It Is a Keeper.

Recommended Tools for Making Mint Juleps

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
5 from 3 votes

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep

Yield: 8 cocktails
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour
Total: 25 minutes
This Kentucky Derby Mint Julep is one of the top 10 bourbon cocktails.  It's incredibly easy to make (I'll even show you a short cut) and is the perfect cocktail for watching the Kentucky Derby.  You can easily make Mint Julep with only a few simple ingredients and it only take a few minutes. 
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  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup good Kentucky bourbon
  • Crushed ice
  • 2 sprigs mint leaves


  • Add water, sugar and chopped mint leaves to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Stir mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Allow syrup to cool completely.
  • Pour syrup through a strainer and discard mint leaves.
  • Combine bourbon and syrup in a pitcher; stir to combine.
  • Fill eight Mint Julep cups with crushed ice and fill with bourbon mixture.
  • Top each glass with a sprig of mint.

Expert Tips

You can replace the simple syrup with a bottled Mint Syrup like this one.  Use 1/2 cup in place of the sugar, water and mint mixture.  

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 7mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.1mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to
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Course: Beverages and Cocktails
Cuisine: American

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