Kentucky Derby 2014: Best recipe for a classic mint julep

A classic mint julep.
A classic mint julep.
(Getty Images / iStockphoto)

Break out the bourbon and grab the most lavish hat you own. The Kentucky Derby, known as the two most exciting minutes in sports is happening Saturday at Churchill Downs. And the best way to enjoy the race is with a cocktail in hand.

But when the starting gate opens Saturday, you can’t drink just any cocktail. If you’re following tradition, it must be a mint julep.

The simple cocktail, made with bourbon, simple syrup and mint over crushed ice, has been the signature drink at the famous horse race for years.

Here’s a classic recipe for the mint julep from the Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen:


Total time: 5 minutes, plus more for simple syrup preparation

2 tablespoons Simple Syrup

4 fresh mint sprigs

Shaved ice

2/3 cup bourbon

Powdered sugar

Mint leaves

Pour 1 tablespoon Simple Syrup into tall glass. Add 2 sprigs mint, crushed slightly. Add ice. Stir in 1/3 cup bourbon. Add more ice to fill glass. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and garnish with mint.


Repeat with remaining ingredients. Makes 2 servings.

Simple Syrup

1 cup boiling water

1 cup sugar


Stir boiling water into sugar until sugar dissolves. Simple syrup will keep almost indefinitely refrigerated in covered container.