This Lemon Mint Julep is a Kentucky Derby classic! Bourbon, lemonade, and fresh mint perfectly sweetened with homemade mint simple syrup.
What is a Julep?
A julep is a classic Southern cocktail known for its popularity at the Kentucky Derby. It’s a fairly straightforward drink made with bourbon, simple syrup, mint, and crushed ice. But in this one, we're adding some refreshing lemon
Julep comes from the ancient persian word gulab which refers to a sweetened rosewater
Why is the Mint Julep the Drink of the Kentucky Derby?
The Mint Julep has been a Kentucky favorite since long before Churchill Downs was founded in 1875. Henry Clay of Kentucky is purported to have brought the drink to Washington when he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1810.
And in 1816, Kentucky county fairs gave out silver julep cups as prizes (I know, I used to polish them diligently when I worked in the jewelry industry).
While likely served regularly during the preceding 63 years, Churchill Downs designated the Mint Julep the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938. And picturing a Kentucky Derby without a Julep in hand now seems near impossible.
What is the Difference Between a Mojito and a Mint Julep?
Both a mojito and a mint julep are made with mint and sweetened with simple syrup, but a mojito also includes citrus and is made with rum. A julep doesn’t traditionally contain any citrus and is made using bourbon.
However, I am shaking things up a bit and adding citrus to this recipe. It’s still a julep though!
Ingredients Needed for this Lemon Mint Cocktail
- Mint Simple Syrup - we’re making a homemade simple syrup with sugar, water, and fresh mint sprigs.
- Ice - make a classic mint julep and serve it over crushed ice!
- Bourbon -
- Lemonade -
- Fresh Mint - for garnish
How to Make Mint Simple Syrup
Simple syrup couldn’t be easier! Simply mix together equal parts sugar and hot water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
For mint simple syrup, add the mint to the sugar water solution and allow it to steep for an hour. This brings out the mint flavor without having to muddle each serving when pouring for a crowd!
How to Make Lemon Mint Julep
To put together your bourbon lemon cocktail, add crushed ice to julep cups, then pour in a teaspoon of the prepared mint simple syrup.
Top with 2 ounces of bourbon, 3 ounces of lemonade, and more crushed ice, then garnish with fresh mint and enjoy!
Can this Lemon Mint Cocktail Be Made for a Crowd?
Totally! If you’re serving a crowd, it’s super easy to whip up a large batch of this bourbon lemon cocktail for easy pouring. Simply combine ½ cup of mint simple syrup, 4 cups of bourbon, and 6 cups of lemonade in a large pitcher.
Store in the fridge, then pour over crushed ice when you’re ready to serve!
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For the Mint Simple Syrup
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 5 sprigs Fresh Mint
For the Lemon Mint Julep
- Crushed Ice
- Mint Simple Syrup
- 32 oz Bourbon
- 48 oz Lemonade
- Fresh mint for garnish
Make the Mint Simple Syrup
- In a heavy bottom pot, add the sugar and water.
- Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring slowly, until the sugar is dissolved.
- Strain into a mason jar and add the mint. Cool.
- Once cool, about 1 hour, strain the mint and allow to sit, sealed until ready to use.
To Make a Single Lemon Mint Julep
- Add crushed ice to julep cups
- Pour in 1 teas mint simple syrup
- Top with 2 oz bourbon
- Add 3 oz Lemonade
- Top off with more crushed ice
- Garnish with fresh mint
To Make Lemon Mint Julep by the Pitcher
- Add ½ cup mint simple syrup to a pitcher.
- Stir in 4 cups bourbon to combine
- Top off with 6 cups lemonade
- Store until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, have cups near a bin of crushed ice with a scoop
- Scoop crushed ice into glasses and top with the pre-made mix.
- Garnish with mint and a fancy hat
Feeling bold, make this a bourbon Arnold Palmer Cocktail by adding some iced tea.
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Elegance 90476/6 Beaded Mint Julep Cup, Mini, Set of 6, Silver
Marquis by Waterford 165118 Markham Double Old Fashioned Glasses, Set of 4
Farielyn-X 160 Grids Mini Tiny Silicone Ice Cube Trays-Flexible Stackable Mini Cocktail Whiskey Ice Cube Mold Storage Containers for Kitchen Bar Party Drinks with Variety Colors (3 PCS)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 0gSugar: 31gProtein: 0g
Nutrition information provided is an estimate from nutritionix.com. For specific health concerns, please put the recipe into your Dr recommended nutrition calculator.