This 21 Day Fix Mint Julep is a light, refreshing bourbon cocktail perfect not just for Derby Day, but all summer long!
Hey guys! It's almost Derby Day! Did you guys know that my crazy fam lived in the Louisville area for a couple of years? We loved Louisville and met some of the very best people there!
There's a lot to love about Louisville, but one thing that stands out pretty much as soon as you get there is that the "fastest two minutes in sports" is a BFD and Kentuckians DO. IT. UP. The parties, the outfits, the hats, the mint juleps. It's all southern charm and luxury and traditions almost 150 years in the making.
One of those traditions is the aforementioned Mint Julep, the Kentucky Derby's official drink since 1939. It's such a delightful, refreshing summer cocktail that I know you guys are going to love even if you aren't into watching the Derby (but if you are, it's May 1st, btw)! I actually think it would make a delicious Mother's Day brunch cocktail, too 🙂
There are two different ways you can make a Mint Julep, either with a mint simple syrup or just using sugar and mint without making a syrup. The latter is the traditional way, but I've read that Churchill Downs makes theirs with the syrup these days.
After testing both (and also one with honey), I think making it with a mint simple syrup is the tastiest (and also the easiest for a batch cocktail!) so that's how I'm doing it 🙂
Anyway, let's do some Q&A and then I'll show you how to make it!
Is Bourbon gluten-free?
According to Beyond Celiac, most bourbons (even though they are made using grains) are considered gluten-free and safe for people with celiac disease because of the distillation process. However, there may be hidden gluten in bourbons that add flavorings or other additives after distillation, so be sure not to pick up any flavored bourbons just in case.
Is this Mint Julep vegan?
Can you make a 21 Day Fix Mint Julep with honey?
Yes! I tested this mint julep both with honey and with sugar. While I preferred it with sugar, it was still great with honey if you prefer to use that. First, make a honey syrup by warming together ¼ cup honey and ¼ cup water. As soon as it's warm enough to mix together completely, add the mint and remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes. Remove the mint (if you leave it in, it will become bitter later) and refrigerate.
Of course, just note that if you make it with honey, it will no longer be vegan.
Btw, if you love making cocktails with honey, you have to try my Honey Paloma! It's my very favorite honey cocktail!
What is the best bourbon for a Mint Julep?
Well, at Churchill Downs, they use Woodford Reserve, which is what I used here and it's freaking delicious. However, a mint julep is fantastic with any bourbon that you like! Some other favorites of mine are 1792 Small Batch, Elijah Craig, Old Forester, or for something a little softer, a wheated bourbon like Maker's Mark is great, too!
How to make crushed ice for a mint julep?
Here are a few options:
- You can make crushed ice using a Lewis Bag and a mallet (affiliate link) - this really makes the best crushed ice for mint juleps or tiki drinks! I recommend using store-bought hollow ice because it's a lot easier to break down, but any ice will work. You could also probably rig a lewis bag and mallet setup with things you have at home (like a clean towel and the smooth side of a meat mallet for instance).
- If you have a sonic nearby, I'm told they sell great crushed ice by the bag!
- You can use your blender. This method produces the least desirable crushed ice on this list, but it's also the easiest way and I've used this method many times. If using your blender, you just have to be really careful not to let it go too long or you'll have snow instead of crushed ice. But hey, I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with a mint julep snow cone either, so whatever works!
What cup do you serve a Mint Julep in?
Traditionally, you'd serve it in a mint julep cup (affiliate link) like the one above. The great thing about a mint julep cup is that it keeps the ice from melting so much longer than a regular glass, but if you don't have one or don't want to pick one up, no big deal! A small old-fashioned glass works great, too. The one I've used in these photos is 10 oz. I'd link to it for you, but I got it at a store here locally (for $1.20!!!) and couldn't find the same one online.
Can a 21 Day Fix Mint Julep be made into a batch cocktail?
Yes! Just premix the syrup and bourbon together (the amount depends on how many servings you want to make) and pour over crushed ice!
What can I do with my leftover fresh mint?
What to serve with a Mint Julep:
Here are some great options! A few Kentucky faves that would be great for Derby Day, and a few things that I just think would be delish with this refreshing cocktail!
- Cajun-Style Shrimp and Grits
- Kentucky Hot Brown from Grandnanny's House
- Pimento Cheese Dip
- 21 Day Fix Cornbread
- 21 Day Fix Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- And basically anything from this great list of Picnic, Potluck and Grilling recipes!
How to make a 21 Day Fix Mint Julep:
Make your mint simple syrup, by first heating the water and sugar together until the sugar dissolves, removing from heat and adding mint and letting it steep for 30 minutes. Then you'll just remove the mint and refrigerate the syrup until ready to use!
Fill a glass with crushed ice and pour the bourbon over it...
Next, pour the mint simple syrup in.
Give it a stir, then add more crushed ice to the top...
If you guys give this 21 Day Fix Mint Julep recipe a try, please let me know what you think!! You can leave a comment below or tag me on Insta @thefoodieandthefix. Or if you’re in my private Facebook group, I’d love to see a photo of your creation in there! I hope you enjoy ♥
Don’t forget to save this 21 Day Fix Mint Julep recipe to Pinterest! ⇓
- crushed ice*
- 1 ½ ounces bourbon
- ¾ ounce mint simple syrup
- optional garnish: fresh mint leaves
Mint Simple Syrup:
- ½ cup sugar (you can use white or raw - I also tested this with honey but didn't like it quite as much)
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup whole mint leaves, lightly packed
Mint Simple Syrup:
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and heat until the sugar has just dissolved (you don't want to let it go too far past that or the syrup will cook down too much).
Remove from heat, add the mint and let it steep for 30 minutes. Afterwards, remove the mint, pour into a lidded jar and refrigerate until needed.**
Fill your glass to the top with crushed ice. Pour the bourbon and the syrup over top (if using a clear glass I also like to throw a few pieces of mint in there because it's pretty!). Give the drink a good stir. Top with more crushed ice, garnish with a mint sprig if ya like and enjoy!
*to make crushed ice, you can either use a Lewis Bag (this really makes the best crushed ice - I recommend using store-bought hollow ice because it's a lot easier to break down, but any ice will work) or your blender. If using your blender, you just have to be really careful not to let it go too long or you'll have snow! But hey, I don't necessarily think there's anything wrong with a mint julep snow cone either, so whatever works!
**the mint simple syrup will last a really long time in the fridge! At least a month, but likely quite a bit longer.
*** To make this into a batch cocktail, just premix the bourbon and mint syrup for the number of servings you'll need (for instance, for 8 servings, mix together 12 oz (1 ½ cups) of bourbon and 6 oz (¾ cup) of syrup in a pitcher). Then when it's time to serve, pour 2 ¼ oz of the mixture over crushed ice for each drink!
21 Day Fix Container Counts per Serving: 1 drink swap yellow
Weight Watchers Smart Points Link: 21 Day Fix Mint Julep
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Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1 mint julep
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 0g