Derby Day is a great excuse to sip on bourbon cocktails all day but who are you kidding, you don’t really need an excuse.
I’m a little late on getting this Kentucky Derby post up. How late? Well, let’s just say I finished out of the money this year. Side note: Last year I went to a fabulous Derby party thrown by Julie Reiner at her bar, Clover Club, and there was a race pool where partygoers picked a horse out of a hat too back. The horse I pulled just finished. I’m saying he was slow. And dead last.
While I may not have enjoyed luck that day, I did enjoy several frosty mint juleps. Late or early, the julep is a fantastic cocktail to enjoy in the spring and summer. I love that bartenders have been playing with the classic julep recipe to come up with different versions. Traditionalists can find classic mint julep recipes here but for those searching for a new-fangled variation, read on.
Basil Hayden’s Derby Day Julep
By Joy Perrine, Louisville, KY
4 parts Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
4 chopped Strawberries
10 Spearmint Leaves
4 Lemon Wedges
1 part Water
2 tbsp. Brown Sugar
Muddle brown sugar and water in pint glass until sugar dissolves. Add chopped strawberries, lemon wedges and mint leaves and muddle well. Add Basil Hayden’s and shake. Add ice and shake once again. Strain cocktail over crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig and strawberry.
Knob Creek Mint Julep
1½ parts Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Bourbon
2 bunches mint
1 part simple syrup* (see below)
1 splash soda
Mix sprigs of mint with simple syrup and a splash of soda. Fill julep cup with fine crushed ice and pour in bourbon. Lift out and decorate with two mint leaves. Add powdered sugar over mint to add an optional frosted appearance.
*Simple Syrup Recipe
- Combine equal parts of sugar and water in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar is fully dissolved.
- Allow to cool before using in cocktail.
(served at the TR Fire Grill in Winterpark, Florida)
1¼ oz. Makers Mark
4 oz. sweet tea
½ oz .mint simple syrup*
3 mint leaves
Combine bourbon, sweet tea, and simple syrup, shake and strain over ice. Tear mint leaves twice and add to the drink.
- Use the basic simple syrup recipe above. Pour syrup into a covered container with 6-8 mint leaves and place in refrigerator overnight. Strain to remove mint leaves.