The Mint Julep Cocktail is most commonly associated with the Kentucky Derby – an annual horse race which takes place on the first Saturday of May each year in Louisville, Kentucky. Julep cups typically symbolise achievement, and have been used for decades at celebrations such as weddings and christenings. In addition, they are also commonly used as competition prizes, such as at horse races. The Kentucky Derby has traditionally used the cup as a trophy for winning jockeys. Therefore, in 1983, the Mint Julep became the official drink of the event and it is estimated that today approximately 120,000 Mint Juleps are sold on the day each year.
Historically, the Mint Julep is believed to have originated from the Arabic drink, ‘Julab’, which contains a combination of rose petals and water. When the drink was brought to the Mediterranean, mint replaced the rose petals as it was indigenous to the area. Jerry Thomas (author of ‘Bartender’s Guide) argues that the cocktail first arrived to Britain in 1839, due to Captain Frederick Marryat commending it in his book ‘Diary in America’.
The word ‘julep’ classically refers to a sweet, mixed drink, taken with medicine. The Mint Julep was historically prescribed by doctors to patients suffering from stomach pain and experiencing difficulty swallowing. It received its first printed feature in 1803, described as “a dram of spirituous liquor that has mint in it, taken by Virginians in the morning”.
The Mint Julep Cocktail is a simple combination of mint leaves, sugar, bourbon and crushed ice, typically served in a silver ‘julep’ cup. To make it, the mint leaves are ‘muddled’ with sugar syrup to form a paste. This intensifies the flavours of the drink by facilitating the release of essential oils from the mint leaves. Bourbon is then added, followed by crushed ice as it is critical that the drink is served ice-cold for maximum enjoyment! Some variations of the cocktail use gin, cognac or even vodka as the spirit base. In addition, other ingredients can be used to create different juleps. For example, a fruitier julep - the ‘grapefruit julep’ is a combination of honey, vodka, mint leaves, lime juice, pink grapefruit juice and grenadine.
Our version of the Mint Julep uses a combination of Beeble Honey Whisky, brown sugar, mint leaves and a splash of water. This creates a deliciously refreshing cocktail, perfect for a warm summer’s evening. For an extra touch, we like to garnish ours with a sprig of mint and a lemon twist.
Mint Julep Recipe
Prep Time: 4 mins
Total Time: 4 mins
Serving size: 1
· 60 ml Beeble Honey Whisky
· 1 cube brown sugar
· Splash of water
· Crushed ice
· Mint leaves
· Lemon twist
Mint Julep Cocktail with Beeble Honey Whisky
1. Add sugar, mint leaves and water to mixing glass and stir until nearly dissolved
2. Add other ingredients and then strain into ice-filled glass
3. Garnish with a lemon twist and a fresh mint sprig
Written by Hester