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Mint Julep With a Twist

The Mint Julep is a bourbon cocktail best known for being the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. But this refresher composed of bourbon, sugar, mint and crushed ice shouldn’t be reserved for only one day a year.

The Mint Julep gained prominence in the southern United States during the 18th century, and it first appeared in print in 1803 in John Davis’ book “Travels of Four and a Half Years in the United States of America.” He wrote that the Mint Julep is a “dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning.” An ice-cold whiskey drink is certainly one way to start your day.

Since its creation, the Mint Julep has remained popular, but the julep itself is actually a category of drinks featuring a spirit served over crushed ice. So, it comes in more varieties than only bourbon and mint, and it’s likely that the first juleps were made with cognac or even peach brandy. After the phylloxera epidemic of the mid-1800s, which infected France’s grapevines and temporarily hindered that counry’s cognac trade, whiskey became the julep’s go-to liquor.

The Mint Julep is traditionally served in a rocks glass or, ideally, in a silver julep cup. Since bourbon is the only liquid in the drink, you’ll want to use a high-quality bottle that you know you love. A slightly higher-proof bourbon—something in the mid-80s or around 90—will keep the crushed ice from diluting the cocktail too quickly.


  • 8 mint leaves

  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup

  • 2 ounces bourbon

  • Garnish: mint sprig

  • Optional - smoke cinnamon


In a Julep cup or rocks glass, lightly muddle the mint leaves in the simple syrup.

Add the bourbon then pack the glass tightly with crushed ice.

Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside.

Top with more crushed ice to form an ice dome, and garnish with a mint sprig

Optiinal - Use a Speakeasy Whisky cocktail smoker to smoke some cinnamon

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