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The Bitches’ Mint Julep

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Have your hats ready, Bitches? This Saturday is the Kentucky Derby. If you’re not heading south, make sure you’re watching the annual horse race with friends at a gathering. And if you’re the hostess, be sure to serve up the classic drink du jour—the mint julep.

Kentucky Derby Brunch at Home

Though it may not be the bar call you’ll hear on most Saturday nights, there will be over 80,000 juleps served at this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Along with the Moscow Mule, it’s the most famous cocktail to feature mint, and is best enjoyed during a sunny day.

In fact, the mint julep began its history in the U.S. as an early morning drink: Virginians used it as a dawn pick-me-up in the 1700s. Given bourbon’s origins in Kentucky, it’s only natural that this drink found its way into the Kentucky Derby in 1938.

It’s a distinct, punch-packing cocktail to help celebrate that one day of year when fascinators and ponies are the thing. We’ll cheers to that.

Kentucky Derby Brunch at Home

The Bitches’ Mint Julep

Instead of messing with a classic, we started with a tried-and-true recipe from our friends at Woodford Reserve (they kindly provided us a bottle). We recommend this bourbon—one of the best in its category—for it smoothness and excellent blending in cocktails. Then we add citrus for a subtle zing and splash of color.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 3 fresh mint leaves
  • Orange wheel dipped in sugar
  • Crushed Ice

Kentucky Derby Brunch at Home

Directions

Muddle the mint in a cocktail shaker. Add the bourbon and simple syrup, and shake. To carry tradition, fill a copper cup (otherwise, any glass will do) with crushed ice. Pour, garnish with ice and the orange, a straw if you have it, and enjoy.

Kentucky Derby Brunch at Home

Tips from the Bitches

A few helpful tips from the bar:

  • Mint dies fast. Buy it the same day, or at most, the day before.
  • You can buy simple syrup, but it’s just as simple to make: one part water, one part sugar, in small quantities. Mix, microwave, cool. Voila.
  • We put our orange slices in sugar to make it even more tasty.
  • To crush the ice: fill two one-gallon Ziploc bags with ice and wrap in a dish towel. Take out any residual stress from the week and crush away.

Kentucky Derby Brunch at Home

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