Gunner’s Libation: Mint Julep for Derby Day |

Gunner’s Libation: Mint Julep for Derby Day

Mint julep cocktail alcoholic drink on wooden board in pub or restaurant.
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto


Below is the official mix from, but heads up, you gotta get started the day before to make it authentic:

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

Sprigs of fresh mint

Crushed ice

Old Forester Straight Bourbon Whisky

Silver Julep Cups

Key: make the simple syrup (boiling sugar and water together for 5 minutes) and then add 8 mint sprigs and cool mix overnight in the fridge.

Make the drink: Start with crushed ice in cup, add 1 tablespoon of mint syrup, 2 ounces of bourbon and stir to frost outside of cup. Pop another mint on top for looks and you’re living the Kentucky dream.

Google searches will amp up this weekend for “How to make a mint julep?” as Derby Day is the unofficial start to spring and time to get your Kentucky bourbon face on.

With the Kentucky Derby opening the horse-racing season Saturday at Churchill Downs, it’s time to find the best mint available up here at 8,000 feet in the offseason and pretend for a bit you’re crammed in the infield with the other 100,000 day-drinkers.

Not a bourbon fan? This is the one day you need to gut it up and start the day with the old Kentucky classic.

The drink is easy to make, so here are a few tidbits we’ve found to make you sound like you know what you’re talking about while mixing:

—The julep is the cup, which is sterling or pewter and should be held by the top or bottom (not in the middle) so the frost can stay on the outside.

—Estimates are that nearly 120,000 juleps will be served over two days at Churchill Downs (Kentucky Oaks race is Friday if you want a practice run);

—The drink became the official drink of the Derby in 1938, says The Atlantic, so it must be true.

—Post time Saturday is 4:34 p.m. Mountain Time, so pace yourself. It can be a long day before the two-minute race.