Ah, the mint julep. The quintessential drink of the South. The drink of the Kentucky Derby! But more importantly, mint juleps are what you drink when it’s over a hundred degrees outside, the humidity is at one hundred percent, and all you want to do is lay on a hardwood floor under a fan on its highest setting. Which, here in Georgia, is the entirety of July and August. Oy.
The real key to a mint julep is to not use a lot of sugar. Mint has a sweetness to it, so you should always, always have a higher ratio of bourbon and soda water to simple syrup. Otherwise, you’re going to be drinking what essentially tastes like gum, or cotton candy. Not very appetizing.
Sparing poor wedding bartenders’ arms from the toil of muddling heaps of mint during your reception (and let’s be honest, sparing your guests a long line at the bar) is probably the main reason mint juleps, and other muddled cocktails, get thrown out of the usual list of wedding cocktail ideas. But mint juleps are delicious, and possibly your wedding is going to be on a very hot day. So we’ve come up with a mint julep that skips the muddling, in favor of a mint simple syrup. A mint simple syrup that is probably equally delicious in other drink recipes you can try—I’m looking at you, mojitos. (And, funny enough, crazy good in iced tea, for the non-drinkers at your wedding.)
We’ve already written about how to prepare cocktails in big batches in advance, so review that if you need to. Done? Excellent. All cocktail recipes are essentially ratios, and just like with our previous drinks, we’ll give you the recipe for one cocktail (which one should always have, in case of I-need-this-tonight emergencies) and then the basic ratio for scaling up.
To Make Mint Simple Syrup
Bring a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes, dissolving the sugar, then remove from the heat. For every cup of water, add one bunch of mint. Steep for twenty minutes, strain, and refrigerate.
MINT JULEP Recipe
2 oz bourbon
1 oz mint simple syrup
2 oz soda water
MINT JULEP Ratio
2 parts bourbon, 1 part mint simple syrup, 2 parts soda water
For 100 Cocktails you need
200 oz bourbon
100 oz mint simple syrup
200 oz soda water
You may need to do some math at the store when you are buying your booze. Some spirits are sold in ounces, others in liters, others in quarts, pints, or gallons. We highly encourage using this smartphone app or this one, or this website for your conversions.
Now, put on your big hat and grab a drink. It’s time to get hitched, y’all!