My Dad’s amazing mint juleps

Posted on May 3, 2012


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This is quite a busy weekend: there’s Jazz Fest, Cinco de Mayo, and the Kentucky Derby! So many things to celebrate & do, yay!

Since I’ve already posted two Mexican recipes this week, I thought I’d share something to help you celebrate the Kentucky Derby if you’re so inclined.

Lucky for me, my dad is a pretty good cook. His soups are the greatest comfort food I know, his fried chicken is to die for {and people, I do not ‘die for’ fried chicken. It’s just not my thing, but my dad’s fried chicken…well, it’s indescribably good – the perfect fried chicken}, and he makes the best mint juleps.

And whenever I think of the Kentucky Derby I think of mint juleps. In my brain the two are synonymous. So when I thought about a Kentucky Derby recipe I’d want to share, I immediately thought of a mint julep.

So I called the master mint julep maker {my dad, of course} and had him tell me how to make one and send me an email with detailed instructions.

I think the reason his mint juleps are so delicious is because of his attention to detail. Each drink deserves special care so you get the full mint julep experience. (my dad did not say any of this but I’ve spent years watching him make them the Friday before the Kentucky Derby and he painstakingly treats every drink like it is going to be judged in a contest.)

So if you know what’s good for you {because I do}, you will make some mint juleps for Saturday, even if you’re not watching the race. And more importantly, you will follow the specific instructions (see below)…

Disclaimer: These are for my 21+ readers, and be careful because they are strong! Oh and you may have noticed that no where did I say this was a healthy version. This is the real deal. Just don’t drink too many and you should be a-ok.

Mint Juleps

Makes 1 drink

  • 2-3 mint leaves + more for garnish, washed
  • 2 heaping tsp sugar, divided
  • 3 ounces straight Kentucky bourbon whiskey (about 9 TBSP)
  • Crushed ice

In a julep cup or a regular glass, muddle the mint and 1 heaping teaspoon of sugar together. Use the spoon to crush the mint into the sugar to make a syrup. Add a drop or so of water if needed to make the mint syrup.

Stir in 1½ ounces bourbon (about 5 TBSP).

Pack the cup with crushed ice.

Top with another 1 ½ ounces (about 4 TBSP).

Sprinkle with the other heaping teaspoon of sugar, and stick in the freezer.

Allow to freeze for at least 30 minutes – 1 hour. Garnish with a few mint leaves or a sprig of mint.

Enjoy {slowly}!

Now here’s the important part – my dad’s expert mint julep making tips:

  1. Do not use bad/cheap whiskey!

  2. Use a glass or a silver cup. Never use a plastic, paper, or Styrofoam cup.

  3. You must use crushed ice. Put it in a bag and beat it until it’s crushed. Stick in a food processor. Just make sure it’s crushed.

  4. Drink your mint julep slowly! Even though it tastes so good and you’re going to want to chug it – don’t! This is a drink to sip and savor.

  5. By slowly drinking the mint julep, you give the ice time to melt to make your drink last longer.

  6. If you’re feeling brave, you can always re-stir the mint and leftover crushed ice with some more bourbon…

  7. You can keep these in the freezer for up to 1 week {but good luck with that – these go fast!}

This recipe was posted on a Slice of Southern Blog slice of southern button

I bet you can’t guess what I’ll be making this weekend…


Posted in: Holiday, Recipes