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Julep Recipes Throughout The Last Century

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Did you know over 120,000 mint juleps are served during the Kentucky Derby each year, easily making this cocktail the #1 drink of choice?! Not only is the mint julep a staple of the race, it is one of the most enjoyed drinks during the spring season!

As the official drink of the race, mint juleps have deep roots in history and have evolved over the years. We thought it’d be cool to give you guys a handful of recipes that show the evolution of the julep, because we all know what’s old is new again!

Below are some julep recipes through the last century as shared by renowned cocktail expert and President of the Museum of the American Cocktail, Dale DeGroff:

Georgia Peach Julep
Georgia-Peach-Julep

Ingredients:

  • 1.3 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • 2/3 oz. Peach Brandy
  • 1 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • Peach slice
  • Crushed ice
  • Julep cup or rocks glass

Muddle mint leaves, sugar, and splash of water in a julep cup or rocks glass. Add Bulleit Bourbon, peach brandy, splash of water, and fill cup with crushed ice (10-20% above rim of cup, like a snow cone) and stir. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and peach slice, add a small drinking straw, and serve with a napkin.

Mint Julep Modern (by Dale Degroff)
Modern-Mint-Julep

Ingredients:

  • 1.3 oz Bulleit Bourbon
  • 0.75 oz Simple syrup or a teaspoon sugar
  • 4 Mint leaves and a sprig of Mint (Use tender, young sprigs- last longer and look better)

Prepare some very cold very dry powdered ice with chunks of ice and a canvas ice bag. Bruise mint leaves in the bottom of a julep cup with sugar syrup. Add ice to the three quarter mark and half the bourbon. Stir to chill the julep cup. Top off with more powdered ice and the remaining bourbon and continue to stir until the outside of the cup begins to freeze. Garnish with the mint sprig and set aside to rest while the julep cup freezes over on the outside. Pick up carefully to imbibe.

Mint Julep (adapted by Dale DeGroff)
Historic-Mint-Julep

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint
  • 1.3 oz Cognac
  • 2 Dashes high quality rum

Dissolve the sugar into the water in a tall glass or a silver chalice julep cup. Add the mint and press gently in the sugared water to extract the flavor; remove the sprigs and set aside for the garnish. Add the cognac and then fill with powdered ice. Place the mint into the drink stem side down and dash with the rum. Set the drink aside for five minutes to frost.

Whiskey Smash (adapted by Dale DeGroff)
Whiskey-Smash

Ingredients:

  • 1.3 oz Bulleit Bourbon
  • 4 mint leaves and one sprig of mint
  • Lemon wheel
  • Cut a lemon in half then quarter and use three of the quarters in the drink
  • 1-ounce simple syrup

Muddle all ingredients except whiskey in a bar glass. Add whiskey and shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass and garnish with a sprig of mint and a lemon wheel

Maple Syrup Mint Julep
Maple-Syrup-Mint-Julep

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 oz. Bulleit Rye
  • 2/3 oz. Grade A maple syrup
  • 5-6 fresh mint leaves
  • Crushed ice
  • Julep cup or rocks glass

Add maple syrup and mint leaves to julep cup or rocks glass, and muddle against the side of the cup. Add 2/3 oz. Bulleit Rye, fill cup with crushed ice and stir to chill cup. Add another 2/3 oz. Bulleit Rye and top cup with crushed ice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, add a small drinking straw, and serve with a napkin.


And if you’re hosting a Derby party, consider Tom Bulleit’s Authentic Mint Julep with a julep mix that you can make ahead of the party to save yourself some time once guests arrive.

Tom Bulleit’s Authentic Mint Julep
Tom-Bulleits-Authentic-Mint-Julep

Ingredients (serves 8 drinks):

  • 14 oz. Bulleit Bourbon (or Bulleit Rye for a different twist)
  • 8 oz. simple syrup
  • 30-40 fresh mint leaves
  • Crushed ice
  • 8 julep cups or rocks glasses

Preparation (serves 8 drinks):

  • Julep mix:
    • Prepare mint extract by removing the small, tender mint leaves. Wash, pat dry and put 30-40 leaves in a small mixing bowl and cover with 3 oz. of Bulleit Bourbon. Soak the leaves for at least 15 minutes. Remove the mint leaves, place in a clean cotton cloth and wring vigorously over the bowl, bruising the leaves. Keep dipping the cloth in bourbon (several times) and wringing the leaves so the juice of the mint is dripped back into the bourbon. Set this mint extract aside for at least 1 hour. (Or if you prefer, you can place the mint leaves back in the extract for a more concentrated mint flavor.) Combine the mint extract with the simple syrup in a covered glass container or jar and refrigerate overnight. (This is the julep mix that will blend beautifully with the bourbon.)
  • To serve:
    • Fill each cup with crushed ice and add 1 1/3 oz. of Bulleit Bourbon or Bulleit Rye and 1 oz. marinated julep mix. Top off cup with crushed ice (10-20% over the rim, like a snow cone). Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint, add a small drinking straw, and serve with a napkin.

No matter which julep recipe you ultimately decide on, we’re sure you’ll be pleased with the results!

Trent Carter is looking to keep the tradition of T&A alive and well in today's politically correct world with his popular Thong Battle features, among other things. He also covers even racier topics on our sister site, which is definitely not safe for work!

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