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Classic Mint Julep

Ramona King

Classic Mint Julep


Six twists on the mint julep to try during Derby season, and all summer long

The mint julep is one of our favorite spring and summer cocktails, especially during Derby season. All you need is a great bottle of bourbon, some sugar and mint, and a ice-smashing deviche and you're good to go. 

But while we love these classic flavors, we’re always interested in learning new ways to drink a julep. Here are six of our favorites to keep you on the julep train throughout the summer. 

Pineapple Mint Julep
Pineapples are a symbol of hospitality, so it’s fitting to incorporate it into just about any Southern cocktail, especially when its done in an elegant way. This cocktail from How Sweet Eats skips the pineapple chunks, and instead whips up a pineapple mint puree to mix into the cocktail. How sweet is that? 
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Mint Julep Granita
Not quite a slushie, but not as firm as a sorbet, a granita is a crushed ice dish that will cool you down during a hot happy hour — a perfect summertime snack. If you’re planning a Kentucky Derby party, try this recipe from Saveur. It can be made and frozen ahead of time, so you can just have to scoop and serve it in a chilled glass when it’s time to dig in.
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Sweet Tea Mint Julep 
Or perhaps you'd like to enjoy the delightful marriage of two of the South’s signature drinks: sweet tea and the mint julep. This recipe acknowledges the fact that traditional mint juleps may be too intense for some palates, and that adding sweet tea to the equation ensures a smoother experience. Of course, it still preserves the signature aromatics of bourbon and mint. 
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Mint Julep Sorbet
This take on a mint julep brings it back to the frozen side. This creamy sorbet from Baking Bites has a bright mint flavor with a perfect hint of bourbon that's perfect for any time you don't feel like actually drinking a cocktail. You can serve this mix right out of the blender, but for a scoopable version, pop it into the freezer for a few hours before serving. 
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Derby Pie Julep
Drink your dessert with cocktail twist on the classic Kentucky chocolate and nut pie. After all, if these flavors work in a pie, why wouldn’t they work in a cocktail? To do so, 10th Kitchen created an easy pecan-cocoa syrup to mix with bourbon and ice that truly takes the julep to the next level.
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Cherry Mint Julep Slushies
For a sippable but still frozen take, try a julep slushie, like this one from How Sweet Eats. We love that this recipe not only highlights the flavors of a classic mint julep, but it also incorporates cherry and lime — the ultimate summer flavor combination. 
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Rachel Taylor is a staff writer at Southern Kitchen. She moved to Atlanta earlier this year after graduating college in Maryland, and has been a digital audience specialist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Politically Georgia, as well as a freelance writer for publications such as USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She has lived in France and Italy, and loves to travel.