Julep Recipes

Classic Mint Julep

2 parts bourbon
½ part simple syrup
1 mint sprig

Place all ingredients into a julep cup. Gently muddle mint to express the oils. Add crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Glassware: Julep cup

Nature’s Sweet Restorer

For the cocktail:
2 parts bourbon
¾ part Strega® liqueur
¼ part Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.® tonic syrup
⅛ part Suze aperitif
1 lemon peel
1 orange peel
7–10 mint leaves

For the garnish:
Fennel frond
Dehydrated lemon coin
Dried roses
Fennel pollen

Place all ingredients except bourbon and orange peel into julep cup. Muddle to combine. Top with bourbon. Fill cup with crushed ice. Express orange peel over drink and discard. Garnish with fennel frond, mint, dehydrated lemon coin, dried roses (optional), and fennel pollen.
Glassware: julep cup

The name for the Dewberry bar director Ryan Casey’s cocktail comes from “The Duplicity of Hargraves,” a 1902 O. Henry short story set in post–Civil War Washington, D.C., which details the ritual of prepping a proper mint julep. In the tale, O. Henry calls the drink “nature’s sweet restorer.” Casey selected the drink’s flavors—hints of fennel, mint, honey, and lemon—to complement spring afternoons in the South. “It’s light, bright, and refreshing,” he says. “Easy to enjoy.”

Sallie Gardner

For the cocktail
1½ parts bourbon
½ part B. Lo Nardini® Amaro liqueur
1 tsp. Orgeat syrup
7 mint leaves
1 dash Regan’s® orange bitters
1 lemon swath expressed and dropped in

For the garnish:
1 mint sprig

Put all ingredients into a julep cup, fill halfway with crushed ice, and stir until outside of tin becomes slightly frosted. Top with crushed ice and garnish with a fresh mint sprig.
Glassware: julep glass

Sallie Gardner at a Gallop, also known as The Horse in Motion, is the name of the English artist Eadweard Muybridge’s 1878 experiment in photography—one of the world’s first forays into motion pictures. When bartender Matt Lofink of the esteemed New Orleans cocktail lounge Cure was brainstorming this bold cross between a classic Derby Day mint julep and the Black Manhattan, which uses Averna (a dark Sicilian liqueur) instead of the traditional sweet vermouth, Muybridge’s groundbreaking equestrian study provided the creative springboard.

The Fourth Turn

3 parts bourbon
2 jalapeño slices, seeded
5–6 mint leaves
1 part strawberry syrup (see recipe below)
Sparkling wine (Mionetto® Prosecco is recommended) as desired

Press the jalapeño and mint into a mixing glass several times just until smashed. Add strawberry syrup and stir. Add bourbon and ice and stir again. Strain into a double old-fashioned glass over a large ice cube. Top with sparkling wine as desired.
Glassware: double old-fashioned glass

For the strawberry syrup
1 qt. strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Cook the strawberries in the sugar and water over medium heat until reduced. Syrup should coat the back of a spoon. Lightly press the strawberries and allow to cool. Strain through a coffee filter to remove solids. Add balsamic vinegar to strained syrup.

A Louisville resident since 2001, the acclaimed Whiskey Dry and MilkWood bar director Stacie Stewart knows that by the time the Derby Festival—the city’s three-week bourbon-soaked lead-up to the Run for the Roses—wraps on May 5, even the most enthusiastic mint julep drinker will experience twinges of fatigue. “People are ready to lighten up their palates,” Stewart says. “So I created this recipe—it’s a little spicy, a little sweet, and a little bubbly. It’s refreshing.” Don’t worry; it’s still boozy enough to burn off the last of your hangover.

A Study in Pink

For the cocktail
5 parts​​ bourbon
1 part ​​macerated strawberry, raspberry, and mint syrup (recipe below)
1 part ​​Lustau® “Los Arcos” Amontillado Sherry
1 part ​​filtered water

For the garnish
Ground pink peppercorns
Strawberry and raspberry castor sugar
(recipe below)
Bouquet of mint leaves

Combine syrup, sherry, water, and bourbon in an 11-oz. collins glass or 11-oz. julep cup. Fill the vessel up halfway with crushed ice. Stir until the outside of the vessel is frosted. Top with more crushed ice. Top crushed ice with a dusting of strawberry and raspberry castor sugar and ground pink peppercorns. Garnish with a bouquet of mint.

For the strawberry, raspberry, and mint syrup
In a container (a mason jar works), combine 1 cup of chopped strawberries, 1 cup of chopped raspberries, and a handful of mint. Coat with sugar and allow to sit at room temperature until a syrup forms. Strain the syrup to remove any remaining fruit. Do not heat.

For the strawberry and raspberry castor sugar
Castor sugar (also called baker’s sugar) is superfine but not powdered. To make the fruit-flavored castor sugar, place a handful of frozen organic berries into a clean coffee grinder and grind until it is the same consistency as the castor sugar. Mix the two ingredients. Use a small metal spoon to dust the top of the drink.
Glassware: collins glass or julep cup

To craft A Study in Pink, Empire State South beverage director Kellie Thorn looked to her copy of The Happy Table of Eugene Walter: Southern Spirits in Food and Drink—a 2011 collection of short essays, witticisms, and more than three hundred spirit-forward recipes by the late bon vivant Eugene Walter, the pioneering Alabama-bred food writer and an early champion of Southern culinary traditions. “In the julep section of the book, Walter writes about a ‘ladies julep.’ It uses rum, rose petals, and strawberries,” Thorn says. “I don’t necessarily like to assign cocktails genders, but I love Walter’s simultaneously reverent and irreverent observations of Southern culture.”