No cocktail is more synonymous with the Kentucky Derby than the Mint Julep, and parties taking place across the country Saturday won’t be complete without the tangy and tasty bourbon-fused drink.

According to the Derby’s official site, nearly 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over a two-day period between the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs every year.

Other than the Derby, the Mint Julep has found its place in pop culture most notably in the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic novel “The Great Gatsby”, as well as the tome’s two feature length adaptations starring Robert Redford in 1974, and Leonardo Dicaprio in 2013.

Churchill Downs bases and concocts its home-grown recipe with “Early Times” brand bourbon-whiskey, which has been a staple in the state of Kentucky since the company was born in 1860.

Based off the Derby’s own process, a perfect Mint Julep should actually start the night before the big race.

First create your own simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Allow the hot sugar-water to cool in any covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint and refrigerate the mixture overnight.

The next day prepare one drink at a time by packing crushed ice into a julep cup (a stout silver cup), then adding one tablespoon of the mint/sugar/water mixture and two ounces of Early Times. Stir, don’t shake, rapidly with a spoon so as to frost the cup, and then dress with another sprig of mint.

“Early Times Mint Julep”


2 Cups sugar

2 Cups water

Sprigs of fresh mint

Crushed Ice

Early Times Kentucky Bourbon

Silver Julep Cups

The finished product should look something like this:



If “Early Times” doesn’t fit your budge, any other bourbon whiskey will do. However for that traditional taste in far less time, "Early Times" released a pre-mixed Mint Julep bottle back in March.