So we know this started as medicine, but what else?

A simple yet delicious drink made of four simple ingredients has been loved for many years. Traditionally made with a mint leaf, bourbon, simple syrup, and crushed ice however there are tons of variations when it comes to making this cocktail.

The term julep is used to define a sweet drink. This cocktail gained its claim to fame in the southern United States sometime during the 18th century. The earliest mentions of this drink come from 1770 during a play by Robert Munford, The Candidate. In this play, a heavy drinker, Mr. Julip appears.

In 1803, a book published by John Davis stated, “a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning.” And in an interview, he mentioned his love for whiskey came from his daily Mint Julep.

Whiskey was among the spirit choices when it came to a Mint Julep because it was readily available. Bourbon became associated with the drink in the United States because poor farmers could not afford spirits, such as rum.

When you think of the Kentucky Derby, a Mint Julep on a hot summer day comes to mind. In 1938, the drink was declared the official drink of the event. While there is no reason for this declaration, it does still stand today. Every year, Churchill Downs serves 120,000 juleps over the two days of races.

Now that you’ve learned how it came to be, are you ready for the recipe? Here’s a classic Mint Julep cocktail.

Mint Julep Cocktail

Mint Julep

Mint Julep


  • 2 1/2 oz. Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 6 Mint Leaves
  • Mint Sprig (Garnish)

Preparation: Add mint leaves and simple syrup to a chilled Julep glass. Muddle to release the oils from the mint but don’t over muddle. Pack the glass with crushed ice and pour bourbon into the glass. Stir to mix the ingredients and top off with more ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.