Classic mint juleps are a Kentucky Derby tradition. They are iconic: frosty silver glasses, crushed ice, fancy hats, and the aroma of freshly picked mint. We are all about simple entertaining and fell in love with these glasses, so this version has a modern Italian twist.
We’re planning to make a bunch of these on Saturday at our friends’ Kentucky Derby party along with pimento cheese! If we were planning to make them the traditional way, we’d pick up some metal glasses, either these or these. The simplest recipe we’ve seen for a classic mint julep is literally three ingredients: 3 ounces of bourbon, ½ ounce simple syrup (buy here or make your own), and mint leaves.
If you use crushed ice, you don’t need to add any sparkling water. Crushed ice melts much faster than ice cubes and waters down the drink to the correct strength. If you’re using ice cubes you have on hand (probably a necessity if you’re making these on a friend’s rooftop like we do, or at a picnic), add a splash of club soda so your julep isn’t too strong. For perfect crushed ice, check out this or this.
Neither of us likes polishing silver, and our style is a bit more modern and European, so we served our mint juleps in these Zafferano glasses from Venice (similar here and here). We love these beautiful handmade glasses. We had actually ordered a set of Zafferano glasses we discovered at the St. Regis in Rome (the collection was called “Twiddle”) a few years ago and they got lost in the mail and the company discontinued them. If anyone knows how to get a set in clear + white, let us know!.
Whatever glass you decide to serve your mint juleps in, make sure to use an appropriately fabulous straw for the occasion. We love these paper straws and these metal straws. It’s the little details like this that take your entertaining to the next level. And of course if you’re planning a proper Kentucky Derby party, you need a proper hat!
- 2 oz good bourbon, we used Bulleit
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- Fresh mint
- Club soda, to top
- Add simple syrup and bourbon to the bottom of a cocktail tumbler or julep cup. Fill the glass with ice, and give it a quick stir to combine. Top with club soda and garnish with a big sprig of fresh mint.
GET RECIPE: Pimento Cheese