When you learn how to make a mint julep
, one of the first questions you might ask is what kind of bourbon to use. Go with a Kentucky classic like Woodford Reserve or Maker's Mark. When you compare bourbon vs. whiskey
, you'll find that most bourbons have strong notes of vanilla, oak and caramel—a big part of what makes bourbon cocktails
so easy to drink.
Do you need to use crushed ice in a mint julep?
To get the right water to bourbon ratio in a mint julep, it's important to use crushed ice because it melts faster than ice cubes, creating a more balanced cocktail. Crushed ice is also important when making a Kentucky mule, which is like a Moscow mule
, but with bourbon instead of vodka.
Why do people "slap" mint leaves before garnishing a mint julep?
Handling the mint before adding it to your mint julep releases the essential oils, making it more aromatic and flavorful. Some call it "waking up" the mint. Hold the mint by the stems and brush the leaves against your palm a few times until the fragrance of the mint is more detectible. Then it's ready to freshen up your drink. This works for any kind of herb on any cocktail—not just mint for mint juleps. Keep this in mind when choosing your next cocktail garnish
How can you make a mock mint julep?
If you prefer mocktail recipes
over drinks with alcohol, make your mint julep bourbon-free. Start by making the syrup as directed. After straining, add 1/2 cup lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. For each serving, combine 1/2 cup club soda and 1/2 cup mint syrup in a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint.
Where can you buy julep cups?
Traditional mint julep cups are made of pewter to keep your cocktail icy cold, but many you'll find today are stainless steel. Look for them anywhere bar gear and cocktail glasses are sold. If you don't have any, a highball glass would be a great alternative. A rocks glass would work in a pinch as well.