Friday Cocktail Hour:The Classic Mint Julep

The Derby is back- in all it’s springtime glory: the horses, the hats and the juleps. Back in the day, Hunky Hubbie and I threw fantastic Kentucky Derby parties. We served our guests creamy mac and cheese, fried chicken from Queenie Bee’s in Orlando, pimento cheese appetiziers. Try out my recipe here. Fresh peach pies and pecan tarts and lots and lots of Mint Juleps.

I miss those parties. Sigh- maybe next year.

Here is a Derby Party Menu using all my Pine & Palm Recipes

Pimento Cheese Spread

Southern Chicken Salad

Bourbon Maple Pecan bars

Peach jam

served over cream cheese with crackers

Mac & Cheese

At home in Florida, have a large collection of beautiful silver julep cups, but being in Montana this Spring, I borrowed this gorgeous silver beauty from my neighbor and bourbon connoisseur- Mark Lies. Thanks Mark.

Thanks to our good friend, Mark, for loaning me this beautiful cup.

For me, a mint juelp is a classic cocktail.

There is no tinkering or fussing with this recipe.

A julep has four ingredients:



Simple Syrup


Good bourbon, but not crazy high end bourbon like Blanton’s, Pappy or Eagle Rare. A nice simple drinking bourbon is what you want- caramel notes, warm and smooth. Simple. Maker’s or Four Roses.

Simple syrup– clean water, plain white granulated sugar- boil, simmer, chill. That’s it. The only accpetable variation is a slice of lemon peel in your simple syrup while it chills. Bourbon and lemon love each other- but that’s it. I read a recipe from a food writer from the New York Times using powdered sugar to muddle the mint. Blasphemy. No- it shall not be done.

Ice– Shaved or crushed ice. Big ice cubes do not work. A julep is a practically a frozen cocktail. Hey, it’s darn hot in the South. We need cold beverages. One great hack is to use “Chick fil a” ice. They sell it by the bag and it is perfect for making this cocktail. Buy a bag and keep it in your deep freezer for this cocktail.

Mint– fresh. Muddle two leaves in the bottom of your julep cup. Then garnish with more mint. Ahh. I do declare, I am feelin’ rather refreshed now.

That’s it. Pour it all in a gorgeous sterling cup or if your budget doesn’t allow, a lovely double old fashioned glass will work.


I’m using Four Roses Bourbon this year.

Ingredients- makes 1 julep

  • 2 oz bourbon- I prefer Four Roses or Makers Mark for a Julep

  • 1 oz simple syrup

  • fresh mint leaves

  • sprig of mint

  • crushed ice


  • In a double old fashioned or sterling julep cup, muddle the mint leaves to release their oils.
  • Add in crushed ice to the top of the glass. Pour in the bourbon and simple syrup. Stir well. Garnish with fresh mint sprig.
  • For the best cocktail, keep your glassware in the freezer prior to mixing. You can always add more bourbon. We don’t judge.
Two clean mint leaves muddled in your cup are all you need.
Add mounds of crushed ice to your cup.
Fill with the bourbon and simple syrup. Stir.
Garnish with Mint. Cheers!

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