Here’s how to make the perfect mint julep to sip during the Kentucky Derby

It’s Kentucky Derby time, and it’s kind of hard to determine which aspect of this annual event is the best. The fun hats? Betting on which horse is going to win based purely on its name? In our opinion, it’s probably the quintessential Derby drink: mint juleps (though the Kentucky Derby hats are definitely a close second).

We have all summer to drink margaritas all night and rosé all day (JK, we have WORK to do), but mint juleps are a Southern staple that deserves higher praise. After all, the drink’s ingredients include mint, sugar, and bourbon, which is kind of the trifecta.

Mint juleps are easy to make. Here’s how:

According to Southern Living magazine, to make one mint julep you’ll need:

3 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon mint simple syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 10-12 fresh mint sprigs)
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) bourbon
1 (4-inch) cocktail straw or coffee stirrer
1 fresh mint sprig
Powdered sugar (optional)

First, make the mint simple syrup.

Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring often until the sugar dissolves (which should take about five minutes). Then, remove that from the heat, add 10-12 fresh mint sprigs, and cover and cool for 24 hours.

Next, pour 1 tbsp of simple syrup into a chilled julep cup with three mint leaves


Use a spoon to muddle the leaves in the syrup.


Then crush your ice and fill the cup with it.


Make sure it’s packed tightly and filled to the top!

Fill the remaining space with bourbon


It should be 1 oz.

Finally, place a sprig of mint and a straw in the julep cup.


Sprinkle powdered sugar on the top if you’d like!

Here’s a how-to video so you can be sure to master it

No matter which horse finishes first today, the mint julep is the true winner of the Kentucky Derby.