Even though the mint julep is associated with the Kentucky Derby, people can drink this delicious and refreshing summer cocktail made with bourbon whiskey, mint, water, and sugar at any time. In fact, it is suggested that people celebrate with a mint julep on May 30 since it is National Mint Julep Day. As a bourbon-based cocktail, mint julep is consumed in the American South.
The mint julep is a centuries-old mixed alcoholic drink, or cocktail, consisting primarily of bourbon or some other and fresh mint. A secret trick that many bartenders use is to lightly “bruise” the mint before adding the other ingredients. This releases the herb’s distinctive aroma and flavor. A traditional mint julep is then served in a silver or pewter cup filled with shaved ice.
According to many sources, the mint julep was introduced in the 1800s by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay. In 1816, county fair champions in the South received silver julep cups as awards. The tradition still exists today when the drinks are served in silver julep cups.
Mint juleps are recognized as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. During the two-day event, about 120,000 mint juleps are served to those attending the popular horse race.
Mix up some mint juleps and invite your friends over to help you celebrate National Mink Julep Day.