The Mint Julep is one of the most well known signature cocktails. While associated with the Kentucky Derby, the cocktail's history goes back centuries. References can be found as far back as the year 900 when it was used for medicinal purposes. The word "julep" is a term referencing sweetened syrups typically used to mitigate the astringency in medicines.
The drink evolved from pharmaceutical prescription to cocktail in the 1800's. The availability of ice which allowed the drink to be chilled was a major factor in the rise in popularity. In particular, the chilled drink was embraced in the southern USA as a welcome refreshment and relief from the heat.
Early records show various alcohols used to make the julep cocktail. Today, bourbon is most associated with the Mint Julep since its adoption as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1939. More Mint Juleps are likely consumed on the first Saturday in May than any other day of the year; however, it can certainly be enjoyed throughout the year.
The Irish Whiskey Society America version puts an Irish twist on the classic Mint Julep. Instead of bourbon, we use the W.D. O'Connell 10 year old Single Grain from their Bourbon & Rye Series. At 48% abv, the Cooley Distillery sourced whiskey provides the high proof needed for the drink along with the vanilla, caramel, and honey notes from the original ex-bourbon cask maturation. Additional aging in ex-rye casks provides a spicy kick. Put on your best derby hat, sit back, and enjoy the IWSA Mint Julep.
- 2 oz. W.D. O'Connell Single Grain Irish Whiskey
- 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
- Crushed Ice
- 6 Mint leaves
- Mint sprigs for garnish (optional)
- Tumbler glass
- Cocktail Stirring spoon
-Muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup in the chilled glass. (Don't pulverize the mint leaves. The goal is to release the mint oils but you do not want to overdo it.)
-Squeeze a lime wedge
-Add the whiskey and crushed ice
-Top off with more crushed ice and mint sprig garnish.
Crushed ice: Place cubed ice in a blender with some water. Blend until cubes are reduced to ~25% of size. Strain residual water.
Simple Syrup: Follow the above link to the easy 5 minute preparation.