The Kentucky Derby is known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.” Held in the middle of bourbon country, the annual horse race perhaps has more of a reputation for its elaborate hats and the mint juleps consumed during the event than as an actual sporting event.
Roughly 17,000 mint juleps are expected to to be consumed at this year’s event, requiring a massive 1,000 pounds of mint.
A traditional mint julep, while delicious, doesn’t have to be the only cocktail you enjoy while watching the race (although arguably you’ll only be able to make it through one during the actual two-minute race). Here are a few variations on the traditional julep that are also worth a look.
The Glenfiddich Malt Julep
Created by Struan Ralph, Glenfiddich Global Ambassador
2 parts Glenfiddich 14 Year Old
Bruised mint leaves
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Directions: Build with crushed ice and garnish with mint sprigs.
“Switch up this classic American cocktail with the Single Malt Scotch that re-wrote the rule book. Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve is aged in two bourbon casks, the second a heavily charred virgin oak cask, unique to the Kelvin Cooperage and the Glenfiddich distillery. This cask finishing brings rich flavors of vanilla, summer fruits and caramelized oak, the perfect base for your new favorite mint julep.” – Struan Ralph
Tarallucci e Vino Mint Julep
2 ounces of Vecchia Romagna Riserva, 10 year Brandy
.5 ounces of Passion Fruit Syrup
4 muddled Raspberries
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
Pinch of Mint
Directions: Fill a highball glass with cracked ice and add all ingredients and garnish with a pinch of mint.
Wake & Bake Julep
Created by Brian Tasch Winner of the 2017 Uppers & Downers Cocktail Competition
2 oz. Teeling Small Batch Whiskey
0.5 oz. Cardamom-macadamia nut syrup
0.25 oz. Brancamenta
2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
2 oz. Cold brew coffee
Directions: We build it like a traditional julep. Pour the base spirits and sugar in: Teeling, Brancamenta, and cardamom-macadamia nut syrup. Fill the cup 3/4 of the way with crushed ice. Using a bar spoon or swizzle, agitate the ice and ingredients top with fresh crushed. Add a dash of angostura bitters, macadamia nuts from syrup making process and mint sprig on top.
2 parts Jim Beam Black
.5 parts peach nectar
Muddled blueberries and mint with a touch of brown sugar
Directions: In a double old fashioned glass, muddle the mint and brown sugar. Add the blueberries and muddle again. Add crushed ice and Jim Beam Black. Stir to distribute mint. Top with crushed ice. Garnish with blueberries and a mint sprig.
The Hendrick’s Rose Julep
Created by Erik Andersson, Hendrick’s Gin Ambassador
2 parts Hendrick’s
0.25 parts Rose Syrup*
6 – 8 mint leaves
Directions: Place mint into the palm of your hand and clap once. Place spanked mint into the glass and add crushed ice, followed by the liquid ingredients in their corresponding proportions. Using a spoon, gently bring the mint to the top of the glass and push it back down. Repeat this step several times. Top with crushed ice & garnish with a mint sprig.
*Boil dried baby rose buds, 1-2 large orange peels and 1-2 large lemon peels gently with 1-1 simple syrup to infuse.
“The herbal notes found in Hendrick’s Gin match very well with the fresh mint in a Julep” – Erik Andersson
2 parts Jim Beam Black
.75 parts lemon juice
.75 parts simple syrup
.5 parts dry rosé
Directions: Stir Jim Beam Black, lemon juice and simple syrup in a mixing glass. Pour over ice and top with rosé. Garnish with a lemon peel.