Mint Julep Recipe (Including Virgin Variation)

Whether you’re celebrating the Kentucky derby (which will be held September 4, 2020, instead of the first Saturday in May) or you just want a cool, sweet, summer adult beverage, this mint julep recipe will hit the spot. You can adjust the sweetness and bourbon strength to your liking. In our household, we enjoy them extra sweet and on the weak side. Make the virgin version for any kids.

Link You May Need:

Fresh Mint Ice Cream Recipe

Is Bourbon Gluten Free?

Bourbon is usually made from gluten grains. However, most people with gluten intolerance tolerate such alcohol because it is distilled and refined during the processing. However, if you’re not gluten-grain alcohol tolerant, substitute brandy for the bourbon. You can even make a virgin mint julep using iced tea. You get that same bourbon color using either.

Mint Julep

Have a party at home and make this surprisingly delicious mint julep recipe. If it’s a new experience for your guests, they’ll love them as well as adjusting it to their liking.


  • 1 recipe simple syrup doubling the sugar
  • Fresh mint stems removed as needed
  • Kentucky bourbon Maker’s Mark is one of the top-shelf brands (or Brandy if you cannot tolerate bourbon) (or iced tea for a virgin variation)
  • Crushed ice
  • Water as needed


  1. At least one day prior to serving, make the simple syrup doubling the sugar if you enjoy a sweet drink. Refrigerate to chill overnight.
  2. Add 4 to 6 leaves of fresh mint and 1 to 2 ounces of sweet simple syrup to each glass, depending upon how sweet you like your drinks and the size of the glass. Using a cocktail muddler (if you don’t have a muddler, a pestle from a mortar and pestle set will work, or even a wooden spoon), crush the mint leaves to release the oils.
  3. Add 1 to 2 ounces of bourbon, 1 tablespoon water (if you like a little weaker drink), and fill the glass halfway with crushed ice. Stir rapidly until the glass frosts up on the outside. Pack the top with ice and add a mint leaf or two for garnish. Add a straw appropriate for the height of the glass and serve immediately with a cocktail napkin or two.

  4. If you prefer to use the same glass for refills, there’s no need to remove the mint. Just add more when it’s time to muddle. They all end up at the bottom of the glass.
  5. With any leftover mint, make fresh mint ice cream (see above link). If you have any leftover, mint is wonderful with lamb. Save a few small stems and root in a glass of water in a sunny location, changing the water at least once per week or as needed. Plant in soil no sooner than two weeks or when the roots are nicely developed.

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