Mint Julep

Learn how to make a mint julep with this easy recipe! The traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby, this bourbon cocktail is aromatic and refreshing.

Mint julep

Have you ever tried a mint julep? If you like fresh mint (like me) or bourbon (like Jack), then you absolutely should.

A mint julep is made with four simple ingredients: bourbon, simple syrup, crushed ice, and fresh mint.

It’s the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby, and it might be as important a tradition as the horse race itself. The Kentucky Derby’s website claims that fans consume 125,000 mint juleps at the Churchill Downs racetrack over the race weekend each year!

That said, it doesn’t have to be Derby Day for you to enjoy a mint julep. This ice cold cocktail is refreshing anytime, and it’s easy to make at home. Learn how with this classic mint julep recipe!

Mint julep ingredients

Mint Julep Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this mint julep recipe:

  • Fresh mint, of course! You’ll muddle some leaves at the bottom of the cocktail and add more fresh mint sprigs for garnish.
  • Simple syrup – For sweetness. It’s simple (get it?) to make your own at home using just sugar and water! Learn how with this easy simple syrup recipe.
  • Bourbon – Something you should know about a mint julep: you can really taste the bourbon. There aren’t many other ingredients here to mask its flavor! Choose one that you’d like to sip on its own. Our favorites are Bulleit and Woodford Reserve.
  • Crushed ice – Shaved ice works too, but I don’t recommend using larger ice cubes. The finer crushed or shaved ice thoroughly chills the drink and gives it its classic frosty look. It also balances the cocktail as it melts, diluting the whiskey. Because bigger cubes will melt more slowly, they won’t have quite the same effect here.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Mudding mint leaves in a julep cup

How to Make a Mint Julep

Mint juleps are traditionally served in silver julep cups, but if you don’t have one, that’s ok! In a pinch, a rocks glass works too.

  • Start by muddling the mint with a little simple syrup at the bottom of the cup. You only need to muddle it lightly to release its fragrant oils. If you bruise or grind the mint leaves too much, their flavor can become bitter.
  • Top with the bourbon, and fill the cup with crushed ice. Stir the drink until the glass becomes frosted on the outside.
  • Taste and adjust. My #1 tip for making cocktails at home! If you don’t love your first sip of a drink, don’t hesitate to adjust the balance of flavors. When I make this mint julep recipe, for example, I often add an extra splash of simple syrup to make it a bit sweeter. If you find the drink too strong, keep in mind that the ice will dilute it as it melts.
  • Garnish and serve. Top your glass with more crushed ice to create a dome, and garnish with a sprig of mint.  A tip from bartender Chris McMillian: Lightly slap the mint before you stick it in the drink. This will release its refreshing scent.


Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Mint julep recipe

More Favorite Cocktail Recipes

If you love this recipe, try one of these easy cocktails next:

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Mint Julep

rate this recipe:
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Serves 1
Whether you make this mint julep recipe for a Kentucky Derby party or another occasion, it's bound to be a hit! This classic bourbon cocktail is aromatic and refreshing.


  • 8 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ to ½ ounce Simple Syrup
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Crushed ice


  • In a julep cup, muddle the mint leaves in ¼ ounce simple syrup. Add the bourbon and fill the cup with crushed ice.
  • Stir until the cup becomes frosted on the outside. Taste, adding more simple syrup for a sweeter drink.
  • Top with more crushed ice to create a dome and garnish with more mint.



5 from 10 votes (7 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Sabrina

    I’m in! Little early in the week but am saving this for later in the week, I didn’t remember how few ingredients there are in a mint julep, so like that too, thank you

  2. Kathie Parrish

    5 stars
    I’ve always loved a classic mint julep and your recipe certainly is that. But years ago, I made a slight alteration and it’s my standard now.
    When I make the simple syrup, I infuse it with a ton (maybe not quite a ton…but a lot) of fresh lemon! I use slices of fresh lemon and lemon zest.
    Try it-I don’t think you’ll be disappointed 😁

  3. Linda V

    Hi Jeanine, thanks for all the great recipes. Is there a specific kind of mint that is best? It seems the one growing all over my yard is apple mint. Thanks.

  4. Louise

    5 stars
    Great cocktail and miss easy to make with the mint simple syrup.

  5. Jen H.

    5 stars
    Refreshing and delightful! The mint simple syrup and hint of lemon really made it. Next time I’ll use a little less lemon juice, but I really liked the zing it gave the drink. Thanks!

  6. Anne Riordan

    How much lemon juice did you use in your cocktail? Does each cocktail have 2 oz od bourbon? thanks

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Anne, I just squeezed a wedge. You can add more or less, to taste. Yes, each has 2 ounces of bourbon.

  7. Sarah | Well and Full

    These mint juleps look so refreshing! 🙂

  8. Amber H

    I have fresh mint I need to use, these look delicious and refreshing. Thanks!

  9. Sabrina from

    yes, just yes, and just in time, thank you!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.