Best Mint Julep Recipe

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The Mint Julep is a classic southern cocktail made with just a handful of ingredients it’s easy to make and totally refreshing.

A glass with bourbon over crushed ice in it.

I would say that one of the most well known drinks in the United States is the Mint Julep.  It’s the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.

A Mint Julep is made with just a few ingredients so it’s easy to make.  It has simple syrup, bourbon, fresh mint leaves, and crushed iced.

Wild mint is fairly easy to find and you don’t have any in your garden or yard you may want to check with your neighbors.  We have a ton growing in our garden so I always just run out to the backyard whenever I’m in need of some.


  • simple syrup (you can buy this or make your own)
  • bourbon (Kentucky Bourbon is most commonly used)
  • fresh mint leaves (you cannot just use mint flavoring)
  • crushed ice (seriously, it has to be crushed ice)

The first thing you will want to do when making this recipe is to make the simple syrup.  You can do this in advance and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.  It can stay in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

How do you make simple syrup?

To make simple syrup combine a half cup of sugar and a half cup of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and cool completely.

Pin Image:   A glass with a Mint Julep in it, text title, ingredients for a mint julep.

After making the simple syrup put it in the glass you will use for the Mint Julep.  Add in the mint leaves making sure to pull off as much of the stem as possible.

Once the mint and syrup are in the glass use a wooden spoon or a wooden cocktail muddler and press on the mint.  You want to crush the mint but not mash it into a pulp.

Why do you muddle the mint?

If you would just put the mint into the glass you would only get a hint of mint.  When you muddle the mint, which basically means crushing it, you release the oils and get so much more fresh mint flavor.

How can I make crushed ice?

If you don’t have crushed ice on hand you can use regular ice cubes but it’s not advised.   Part of the reason we use crushed ice is because it melts faster into the drink.   Place a few ice cubes in a freezer bag and hit them with a hammer or mallet.   I had my 5 year old do this part and he absolutely loved smashing the bag until all the ice was crushed.

What is the Kentucky Derby?

While it doesn’t really matter if you know what the Kentucky Derby is while making this drink it is nice to know.  The Kentucky Derby is an American horse race run at Churchill Downs in Kentucky. It’s the first leg of the Triple Crown. 

A top view of a glass with bourbon over ice and a mint leaf.

Next fill the glass with crushed ice then add in the bourbon.  You’ll want to give the cocktail a good stir before taking a sip from the glass.    I also like to garnish the top with a sprig of the fresh mint to give it a bit of color.

More Cocktail Recipes:

This drink is strong but refreshing.  The mint really seems to lighten it up and because it’s served over crushed ice much of the ice begins melting and diluting the bourbon so it’s a tasty cocktail.

I actually like my cocktail to sit for a few minutes before taking a sip.   This is the perfect sipper for a summer day, a garden party, or while watching the Kentucky Derby.

If you’ve tried my Best Mint Julep Recipe or any other recipe on Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment letting me know how you liked it. I love hearing from you! You can FOLLOW ME on:

A glass with bourbon over crushed ice in it.

Mint Julep

A classic southern cocktail made with just a handful of ingredients it's easy to make and totally refreshing.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 mint julep
Author: Hezzi-D


  • 5 mint leaves
  • 2 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • crushed ice


  • Place the mint leaves and simple syrup in the glass.
  • Muddle the mint and syrup with a wooden muddler.
  • Add in the bourbon and fill the glass with crushed ice. Stir.
  • Garnish with fresh mint.


A Hezzi-D Original recipe

A hand holding a frosted glass of mint julep.

Welcome to Herb Week where we let the herbs be the star of the recipe and not just a garnish. Mint, dill, sage, and cilantro are just a few of the herbs we are celebrating this week.

Friday’s Herb Week Recipes


  1. You would think is Kentucky bourbon girl would have a mint julep recipe on the blog. Nope! This looks so good and reminds me of all those Kentucky Derby parties we had when I was growing up.

5 from 10 votes (10 ratings without comment)

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