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Woodford Reserve’s classic Mint Julep. (Photo courtesy of Woodford Reserve)

Some things last for a reason; often, simple components are a helpful hand in that longevity. The Mint Julep — that iconic sipper of horse-hooting, fancy hat-wearing equestrian fans — has altered little to none since its first hint of a mention in 1721 in a Boston newspaper, citing the popular combination in Virginia of rum, fresh mint and water. (Yup, you read that right: Virginia — the folks of that lovely state will get gloves-off with you about the drink’s origins, so be ready.)

Of course, the drink today is synonymous with both Kentucky bourbon (sure, you can use the bourbon of your choice from any state in the land; and if you are unfamiliar with that little factoid: yes, bourbon can be made anywhere in the contiguous United States as long as it follows federal parameters that I will not bore you with here) and the Blue Grass state’s famed race, the Kentucky Derby. In fact, the drink became the official one served at Churchill Downs after Prohibition’s repeal in 1938. Cheers to that. Woodford Reserve (grab a bottle at Wainscott Main Wine & Spirits) is the official bourbon of that storied sporting spot, and they were kind enough to share their classic recipe here.

Last year’s mint is popping up all over in the wonderfully warming sun of spring out here in the Hamptons — grab a tuft, muddle away and mix one up yourself this weekend while the horses are on the track.

Print Recipe

Woodford Reserve’s Mint Julep

Prep Time 1 minute
Serves 1 cocktail


  • 3 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 oz Woodford Reserve straight bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1 sprig mint for garnish
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar


  • Rub the mint leaves around the inside of a chilled julep cup and then gently muddle them.
  • Add in the simple syrup, bourbon and lots of crushed or pebbled ice.
  • Give it a gentle stir, sprinkle of powdered sugar and garnish with the mint sprig. Cheers to your pony!