If you’re looking for the BEST Mint Julep cocktail recipe, look no further my friends. This is it. Smooth and sweet, with the aroma of mint in every sip and a little fresh lemon juice added to round out the whole thing… it’s the best whiskey cocktail of your life that’s SO easy to make from home with four ingredients in only 5 minutes. You don’t even need to make simple syrup!
These mint juleps were the best way to celebrate a big milestone a few days ago. Bowl of Delicious, this 6.5 year old website and labor of love where I’ve poured my heart into each recipe – to share with millions of people per month – yes, MILLIONS – finally did it. It got over 1 million page views in a 30 day period for the first time ever!
THANK YOU to every single one of you who have visited my blog, made a recipe, subscribed to my email list, shared with your friends, commented or rated a recipe, or shared one on social media. It means the world to me.
And what better way to celebrate than with my favorite cocktail? Oh I know a better way. When someone else makes you that favorite cocktail!
I may be sharing this recipe here, but my husband, Zach, is the cocktail maker in our house (he’s also a retro video game aficionado). This is his recipe for mint juleps, adapted from our favorite cocktail book, Shake. Or as we’re calling them, “Million View Mint Juleps.”
So whether you’re watching the Kentucky Derby, need to celebrate a big milestone in your own life, or just want to enjoy a special evening with someone you love, give this easy mint julep recipe a try!
While having cocktail specific equipment isn’t 100% necessary to make a mint julep, it makes the process easier and creates a better cocktail. Here’s what I recommend.
- A cocktail shaker. It makes easy work out of shaking up your favorite beverage, with a cover that fits snugly on top. And since it’s made of metal, it will keep everything nice and cold. (Don’t have one? Use a mason jar with a lid).
- A jigger. This will help you easily measure 1 or 2 ounces in the right amount for your cocktail recipe. (Don’t have one? Two tablespoons is 1 ounce, and 1/4 cup is 2 ounces).
- A muddler. This helps you crush up the mint leaves with all the sugar, negating the need for simple syrup. (Don’t have one? Use a wooden spoon.)
- A strainer. Your cocktail shaker might come with one on the cap (like the photo below shows), but if it doesn’t, you can hold a strainer on top of the cocktail shaker to strain the beverage into a glass. (Don’t have one? Use a small mesh sieve.)
- A juicer. I use this for every recipe that requires fresh lemon and lime juice. I like the glass ones that have a space to separate the seeds. (Don’t have one? Squeeze the lemon into the palm of your hand to catch the seeds and let the juice fall through your fingers.)
- Old-fashioned glasses. They’re great for any whiskey cocktail. (Don’t have them? Serve in a mason jar or other tumbler glass.)
You can get an awesome cocktail shaker kit with almost everything you need, which also makes a great gift for the cocktail lover in your life.
How to make a mint julep
Actually, two mint juleps. What fun is a cocktail if you can’t share it? This recipe makes enough for two, so you can double it for four, or cut it in half for one. Here’s how.
- First, muddle some fresh mint leaves with turbinado sugar and lemon juice in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Turbinado sugar is the same thing as sugar in the raw- it’s natural cane sugar that has a molasses flavor to it. If you don’t have any, you can use brown or white sugar, or even maple syrup. You want to muddle it until the sugar is dissolved(ish) and the mint is very crushed up.
- Then, add some bourbon and ice to the shaker. Shake really hard for about 10 seconds.
- Strain into glasses over crushed ice and garnish with some fresh mint leaves. Enjoy!
If you don’t have crushed ice handy, you can either throw some in your blender for a few pulses, or you can add some to a bag, cover with a towel, and bang with a rolling pin a few times.
The crushed ice really is nice in a mint julep because it melts a little faster, mellowing out the flavor of the whiskey. (Crushed ice in an old fashioned cocktail, however, is blasphemy.)
What kind of whiskey to use
This recipe uses bourbon, which but you can use any other kind of whiskey you like, such as rye or a blend.
We love Bulliet brand for bourbon and rye whiskies, which is available almost anywhere. Local to the Hill Country/Austin TX, we recommend Treaty Oak Distillery (which is a great place to visit if you’re in town, and is surprisingly kid-friendly for a distillery!) and Kooper Family Whiskey Company.
True story: I used to not even like whiskey. It took me a little while to get used to but now it’s my favorite kind of liquor.
These mint juleps are a great “beginner” whisky cocktail, for those who are still getting used to the taste, since the mint, lemon, sugar, and fast-melting crushed ice really help mellow out the strong taste of the whiskey.
Other cocktail, mocktail, and drink recipes
Browse all my drink recipes here.
Mint Julep Cocktails
- Cocktail Shaker
- Citrus Juicer
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves plus more for garnish
- 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
- 1 scant oz. fresh lemon juice (or 1/2 shot)
- 6 oz. bourbon or rye, or another whiskey (four shots)
- 1 cup whole ice cubes for shaking
- 1 cup crushed ice divided, for serving
- Add the mint leaves whole (2 tablespoons), turbinado sugar (4 teaspoons), and lemon juice (scant 1 oz., or 1/2 shot) to the bottom of your cocktail shaker. Muddle them together until most of the sugar has dissolved and the mint leaves are thoroughly crushed.
- Add the bourbon (6 oz, or 4 shots) to the cocktail shaker. Add the whole ice (about 1 cup) to the shaker. Cover and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
- Divide the crushed ice into old-fashioned cocktail glasses, tumblers, or mason jars (about 1/2 cup in each glass.) Strain the cocktail mixture into the glasses over the ice and garnish with extra mint leaves. Cheers!
- To make your own crushed ice, you can add whole ice cubes to a bag, cover with a towel, and use a rolling pin to hit the bag a few times until crushed to your liking. You can also add whole ice to a blender and pulse a few times.
- If you don't have a cocktail shaker, use a large mason jar with a lid instead. When you are ready to shake, add the lid on top. You can strain it using a small mesh sieve, trying not to pour any ice cubes into the sieve so you can more easily strain the liquid. Or, just carefully hold a spoon on the edge of the jar to allow the liquid out when you pour and keep the solids in the jar.
- If you don't have turbinado sugar, you can use brown sugar. I recommend using 3 teaspoons instead of 4. You can also use white sugar in a pinch, but it won't have as much flavor. For a refined sugar free version, I'd recommend 4-5 teaspoons maple syrup.