The Kentucky Derby takes place the first week of May and the one drink that is on everyone's mind is the Mint Julep. It is a fantastic drink that has been around since (according to David Wondrich's Imbibe!) the Revolutionary War, though it wasn't always made with bourbon.
Today's Mint Julep is a simple mix of bourbon whiskey, sugar, and fresh mint and it is a fantastic base from which a number of other cocktails can be built. The recipes below show off some of those new... interpretations and have a diverse mix of flavors.
There is one thing that you will need to create each of these cocktails, a good muddler. This is an essential tool that should be in every bar and it is vital to releasing the aromatics from your mint and other ingredients in the initial smash. It can also be used to create crushed ice, which is essential to many juleps.
Enjoy the race!
01 of 06
What you need: bourbon, sugar, mint
The classic recipe for a Mint Julep is really very easy to create and you will enjoy its refreshing taste. Don't forget the crushed ice and, if you're into recreating the true julep experience, pick up a silver julep cup.
02 of 06
What you need: Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Pimm's, elderflower cordial, simple syrup, Earl Grey bitters
Every year Woodford Reserve releases a special Mint Julep recipe created by some of today's best mixologists. In 2017, we see a simple rendition that has a British twist and it certainly is a lot of fun.
03 of 06
What you need: ginger-infused Bulleit Bourbon, brown sugar, ginger, soda
For this recipe, we skip the mint and opt for ginger instead. The first round of ginger comes in the bourbon infusion and the second in the muddle. It's a unique twist that is certainly different, just give yourself about two days for the infusion.
04 of 06
What you need: Maker's Mark Bourbon, peach liqueur, white peach mint, peach bitters
It's time to get peachy and though white peaches are not always available, this is a recipe to keep in mind for when they are. The julep's sugar is replaced with a peach liqueur and the peach bitters are the perfect finishing touch.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
What you need: bourbon, simple syrup, lemon, spearmint
As classic as the Mint Julep, the Whiskey Smash is nearly the same, though it brings lemon into the mix and typically skips the crushed ice. It's refreshing, semi-tart, and another simple adaptation that make a great option for race day.
06 of 06
What you need: Royal Combier Orange Liqueur, lemon, mint
We'll toss in one last non-whiskey drink as an option and it's quite fun and very easy. The lemon makes it more of a Whiskey Smash as well, though you will find that the citrus and mint are the perfect complement to this great orange liqueur.