We’re off to the races! The Kentucky Derby kicks off on May 1st this year, and it’s one of our favorite events of the spring season. It’s fast-paced fancy fun, and it’s also the birthplace of one of our favorite drinks, the mint julep! And with National Mint Julep day on May 30th, there’s no better excuse to order one during your next meal out in Smyrna.
Origins of the Mint Julep
The mint julep is widely believed to have originated in Kentucky, with early uses being for medicinal purposes. In 1938, it became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, and today, the mint julep remains a popular cocktail particularly in the southern region of the United States. Its popularity at the derby remains unwavering: over the course of the two-day event, Churchill Downs bartenders serve more than 120,000 mint juleps every year.
What goes into a mint julep? The drink is made with bourbon whiskey, water, sugar, and mint. Of course, the secret to making the perfect mint julep lies in the muddling. By lightly bruising the mint, the herb’s distinctive aromas and flavors are released. Mixed with sugar, water, and fine bourbon, it’s a delicately sweet and refreshing summer cocktail perfect for sipping any time of day.