The Mint Julep

Most likely originated in 1803, when John Davis, a traveler from Britain and a Virginia plantation tutor, defined a julep as "a dram of spiritous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians of a morning". From there, it evolved into a putting mint and sugar into a tumbler, and then adding equal parts of peach and regular brandy. To this was added plenty of crushed ice. Traditionally, mint juleps were often served in silver or pewter cups, and held only by the bottom and top edges of the cup. This allows frost to form on the outside of the cup, which some would find a sign of gentility. Others merely find it pleasant to look at. The Mint Julep well-known as the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby, a position it has held since 1938; during the event, more than 80,000 juleps are served at Churchill Downs.

Bob Dylan described in his Theme Time Radio Hour episode #3 how to make, by his preferences, a perfect mint julep: "First up, you take four mint sprigs, two and a half ounces of bourbon. I'd put three. A table spoon of powder sugar, and a table spoon of water. You put the mint leaves, powder sugar and water in a Collins glass. You fill the glass with shaved, or crushed ice, and then add bourbon. Top that off with more ice. And...I'd like to garnish that with a mint sprig. Serve it wih a straw. Two or three of those, and anything sounds good."

  • 90-120ml Bourbon Whiskey
  • 4-6 sprigs of mint
  • 2 sugar cubes

Method: Put Bourbon, Mint, and Sugar into the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Muddle to disolve sugar and blend mint leaves. Let stand for a bit to help release the mint flavour. Add ice, and shake well to chill, then strain into a glass filled with shaved ice.
Ahh, such a refreshing drink... - notes partially sourced from