Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau has declared April “Mint Julep Month”, and rightly so! With the Kentucky Derby right around the corner, the city of Louisville erupts into a month long celebration that kicks off with the largest annual fireworks display in North America and runs all the way up to the Derby itself. By and large, the drink of choice for Derby revelers is the Mint Julep.
The Mint Julep was originally introduced to the public-at-large by U.S. Senator Henry Clay (Kentucky, of course!) back in 1938. The drink quickly became a favorite at the Round Robin Bar in Washington D.C.’s infamous Willard Hotel, and was author William Faulkner’s standby drink of choice.
A quick search of mint julep recipes around the net will reveal variations that range from the minimalist to the whacky, but below you will find the traditional recipe that has made the mint julep the official drink of the Kentucky Derby.
2 ounces Early Times Kentucky Bourbon
1 tsp. sugar
2-3 mint sprigs
crushed or shaved ice
Add bourbon, water, and sugar into an empty rocks glass and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill the rocks glass with crushed ice and garnish with mint sprigs. That’s it!
And if you thought Mint Juleps were just for drinking, you obviously haven’t been to the Makers Mark Distillery tour. There they craft amazing Mint Julep Cookies! If you can’t visit, here is the recipe for the Maker’s Mark Mint Julep cookies that are served at the distillery:
- 2 sticks butter, softened
- 2 cups light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup finely ground oats
- 2 cups Andes Mint Chocolate Candy pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix flour, oats, baking soda, salt and mint chocolate candy pieces. Gradually add to butter mixture until incorporated. Scoop out with a two ounce scoop and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool and add bourbon fudge topping.
Bourbon Fudge Topping:
- 2 cups melted chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semisweet, whichever you prefer)
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup Maker’s Mark Bourbon
Melt chocolate in double boiler, remove from stove. Add sweetened condensed milk and bourbon and mix until incorporated. Top cooled cookies with warm fudge and enjoy.
Enjoy one of the best times of year with a Kentucky Derby favorite, and if you have your own variation, add it to the comments section below!