Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe

By Marcus Samuelsson |

Even if you can’t make it to the Kentucky Derby this year, make sure to make a Mint Julep! An almost century-old tradition at the race events, this cocktail is a refreshing drink for both race-watching and normal toasting alike.


Mint Juleps, a distant cousin of the popular Mojito, are a Southern favorite made with Bourbon, mint, simple syrup, water, and sugar. Mint Juleps are even the official drink the Kentucky Derby, where more than 120,000 are served over the course of two days.

So grab your biggest hat and those mint leaves to enjoy this treat during tomorrow’s race!

Adapted from the Kentucky Derby Website


2 oz Bourbon, per drink

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

1 cup fresh mint, cleaned

Crushed ice


Boil the water and sugar together for 5 minutes and let cool. When at room temperature, refrigerate overnight with half a cup of mint. Fill a low-ball tumbler with crushed ice, 1 tablespoon of the syrup, and 2 ounces of Bourbon. Add a few leaves of mint and stir.