The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It takes 7,800 liters of bourbon and 2,250 pounds of locally grown mint to make the 120,000 Mint Juleps sold at Churchill Downs during Kentucky Derby weekend.
Many local bartenders serve up freshly made juleps and variations on the signature drink at area restaurants during Derby weekend. The drink is a featured menu item and the centerpiece of every gala in town.
What if you want to have the drink for your own Derby party or race viewing? Pick up a bottle of the pre-made Early Times Mint Julep at your local liquor store for around $15. This is the same mix that the track bartenders pour at Churchill Downs.
If you want to be adventurous and make your own Mint Julep from scratch, you can find various recipes and how-to videos online. However, it’s a simple recipe—mint, simple syrup (syrup made of sugar and water), bourbon, and crushed ice. And don’t forget the fresh mint sprig. Serve the drink with a short straw, so that you get the smell of the mint as your nose lowers to the glass.
Mint Juleps are not for everyone, but everyone enjoys them at Derby time. It's tradition!
Photo: Courtesy Early Times