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Kentucky Derby 2022 Start Time, Channel & Live Scores: Odds, Positions & Picks

Mint Julep has been the drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1938. Nearly 120,000 are expected to be served over the weekend, requiring 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint. There is no real romantic origin story as to why the drink became synonymous with the Kentucky Derby – the Mint Julep was served there and it gained popularity as a drink. Even Mental Floss – our go-to for things like this – came up relatively empty on any real fascinating history between the drink and the racetrack (although winning a silver julep cup at a state fair would have been pretty awesome) .

In its simplest traditional form, a Mint Julep is made with fresh mint, bourbon (not whiskey), simple syrup, and crushed or crushed ice. And from experience, we can tell you that using crushed ice is one of the most important parts of drink quality. The Classic Mint Julep recipe on the Kentucky Derby website calls for the mint essential oils to be rubbed inside the glass; grinding the mint is an important step.

Despite all the hype, the Mint Julep is not a complicated cocktail. But we did our best with the twists on the classic cocktail, below. And for one last pro tip – get your mint NOW. Your local grocer will likely be wiped out by other amateur mixologists.

Classic Mint Julep Recipe


Leaves of 4-5 sprigs of mint

1/2 oz. simple syrup

2 1/2 oz. Bourbon


In a mint julep mug or heavy-bottomed glass, gently mash the mint and simple syrup.

Add crushed ice and bourbon, stir.

Garnish with ice and a sprig of mint.

If you’re looking for something beyond the traditional recipe, we’ve got three more recipes below for you to try.