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Today is Mint Julep Day! A mint julep is a delicious and refreshing summer cocktail made with bourbon whiskey, mint, water, and sugar. A secret trick that many bartenders use is to lightly “bruise” the mint before adding the other ingredients. This releases the herb’s distinctive aroma and flavor. A traditional mint julep is then served in a silver or pewter cup filled with shaved ice.
According to many sources, Kentucky Senator Henry Clay introduced the mint julep in the 1800s. As early as 1816, county fair champions in the South received silver julep cups as awards. Today, the mint julep continues to be associated with the southern region of the United States, most notably as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. Over the course of the two-day event, bartenders at Churchill Downs serve almost 120,000 mint juleps!
The Kentucky Derby may be over, but that’s no reason to stop enjoying this unique drink. Make one of these five mint julep recipes to celebrate the final race in the Triple Crown—the Belmont Stakes!