National Mint Julep Day



Time to prep your livers, it's another drink holiday! That’s right it’s National Mint Julep Day! 

While the cocktail has been around for at least two centuries, mint juleps today are more commonly associated with the Kentucky Derby, a two-day horse racing event which is synonymous with drinking Mint Juleps. Did you miss it? Don’t worry, today gives you another chance to enjoy! It’s almost the same thing.... but without the horses.

We couldn’t find much info on national mint julep day, other than the fact it’s today. Since we can’t figure out who organizes it the only thing we can do is partake by sharing info on the lovely drink itself!

-Mint juleps are a wonderfully simple drink, in the same drink family as smashes, like a bourbon smash or a mojito, where mint is “smashed” (in the biz we say muddled) into the drink to help release essential oils.

-In the past juleps were served in pewter or copper cups that were frosted and only held from the top and bottom rims to preserve the frosty cup. This was before commercially available ice and modern refrigeration. Remember it’s a 200-year-old drink. These days a highball is the preferred glass. The ice is usually small crushed known as “julep ice.”

-Whether mint or lavender or any other herb, a “julep” of any kind was originally a sweet syrupy drink, often used as a vehicle for medicine. The word julep comes via Persian and Arabic languages and literally translated as rose-water. As much as rose water sounds nice we’re glad there’s bourbon in it too! 

A brief history

Mint juleps date back to at least the early 19th century. One of the earliest citings took place in 1803 by British traveler John Davis, who mentioned in drinking a mint julep at a northern Virginia plantation in some book that’s not about drinking at all.

It’s thought that this era’s version of the famous drink was made with rye whiskey or rum rather than the currently traditional bourbon. Both were popular spirits in the south before bourbons rise to prominence.

The victory of bourbon as far as being the mint julep spirit of choice is because of the Kentucky Derby. Mint juleps are appreciated throughout the South, however, Kentucky being very proud of its bourbon, popularized the drink in the twentieth century. Woodford Reserve is currently the “official bourbon” of the Kentucky Derby. 

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Random Facts

120,000 mint juleps are imbibed each year during the first weekend of May at the Kentucky Derby.

The world's largest mint julep was a functional display at the derby coming in at 6 feet tall and 206 gallons! 

So as we raise our glasses to toast National Mint Julep Day on May 30, let’s honor the drink for its longevity, good taste and as a fine symbol of southern hospitality.

Let’s also try to do our best worst Southern accents and instead of “Y'all come back now...” we say again- thanks for reading and as always ....

Cheers from,

Happy Hour City