The Perfect Mint Julep

A mint julep is traditionally made with four ingredients:  bourbon, mint, water, and sugar.  It has been the official cocktail of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for over a century.

Put on your best derby hat, invite some friends over, and sip on this minty beverage.  We’ll bet you’ll Drink It and Like It!


  • 4 cups Kentucky bourbon
  • 2 bunches fresh mint leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar


To prepare mint extract, remove about 40 small mint leaves. Wash and place in a small bowl. Cover with 3 ounces bourbon. Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes. Then gather the leaves in paper toweling. Thoroughly wring the mint over the bowl of whisky. Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times.

To prepare simple syrup, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of distilled water in a small saucepan. Heat to dissolve sugar. Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool.

To prepare mint julep mixture, pour 3 1/2 cups of bourbon into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher. Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the bourbon.

Now begin adding the mint extract 1 tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture. When you think it’s right, pour the whole mixture back into the empty liter bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to “marry” the flavors.

To serve the julep, fill each glass 1/2 full with shaved or crushed ice. Insert as much mint as you and/or your guests want and then pack in more ice.  Pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice and add a sprig of mint, as a garnish. Serve immediately.

Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.

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