Mint Julep

If you follow me on twitter or instagram you might know about my recent trip Louisville, Kentucky. I was invited by GE Monogram to come visit their experience centre, where all the ideas are hatched for their lineup of beautiful professional appliances.

I was wined (or julep-ed?) and dined and got some serious playtime on state-of-the-art cooking devices, all while enjoying the company of fabulous food bloggers from across the US.

Have you ever been to Louisville? It is utterly charming. With sprawling victorian homes, drawling local articulation, golden sunshine, warm hospitality, and drool-worthy southern food, it completely stole my heart.

I spent hours meandering through the neighbourhoods of the old part of town, snapping pictures of mansions and dreaming of owning one of those gorgeous porches. And dreaming of the fancy hats I would wear on it while sipping on a strong mint julep on said porch.

I was a measly one week late for the Kentucky derby, but at least I got to poke around the racetrack and meet one of the beautiful thoroughbreds.

Notice earlier I referred to a strong mint julep? Strong is really the operative word. In Kentucky, they know how to mix a drink. I only drank one (which is really all I could manage and not fall off my chair), but it was perfection. So ice cold it was like the ice cubes were magical. Perfectly sweet, and minty but not overly so. I was immediately hooked.

I brought a bit of the South home with me – in amber liquid form – and promptly got to work recreating this bewitching Kentucky libation in my own kitchen.

I regret not asking the hotel for their recipe. My own rendition starts with a mint simple syrup – equal parts sugar and water, heated just until the latter dissolves, and then infused with bruised mint leaves. Poured over ice with a healthy slosh of bourbon and a few mint sprigs for garnish, I closed my eyes and could practically hear bluegrass music.

I am a bit of a lightweight when it comes to hard liquor, so I prefer to let my julep stand for 10 minutes or so, to let some ice melt into it and let the whole thing get glacial cold. Feel free to adjust the bourbon to your taste – many recipes call for two ounces per serving.

Pictured in the Monogram test kitchen, from left to right, are Chef Joe Castro of All in Good Food; me, hi there!; Sandy of the Reluctant Entertainer; Cindy of The Daily Basics; and Brenda, of A Farmgirl’s Dabbles. Photo courtesy of the lovely aforementioned Sandy.

My favourite appliance to take for a test run was the Advantium. It’s a speed-cooking oven, and they don’t use the word “speed” lightly. This baby can perfectly bake a potato in 8 minutes. It kinda blew my mind.

Then there was the induction cooktop. It uses technology that allows the food to heat from the inside of the pot, without heating any element. You can put ice on half the element and have water boiling on the other half… whaaaa? Again, mind blown.

We also visited the development team and talked about the future. And people, it is intense. The technology that’s coming down the pipes for the next generation of appliance is seriously amazing…

Mint Julep
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup loosely packed mint leaves + mint sprigs for garnish
  • ice
  • 1½ oz (45 mL) bourbon
  • 2 tbsp mint simple syrup
  1. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves completely. Stir in mint leaves, bruising them a bit with a wooden spoon or a muddler. Let stand one hour (or up to overnight - if keeping longer, remove and discard mint leaves).
  2. Fill a glass (5 oz/300 mL or larger) with ice. Add 1-2 mint sprigs. Pour bourbon and 2 tablespoons of the mint syrup over the ice and stir.
  3. Adjust strength and sweetness to taste.
Mint syrup yields 16 servings.


  • Fariba Rajabi

    This sounds to be a yummy drink for my guests!! :) Im gonna try it this summer!! Mint makes a great scent for hot weather, its cooling..

    • foodess

      Mmm hmm, totally!

  • Emilia

    Gorgeous photos, they make me want to go to Louisville (which sounds like an amazing trip!)
    The mint julep recipe looks really nice as well.  I’ve never had one, but you definitely make me want to try one soon :)

    • foodess

      You should do both! ;-) 

  • Claricenb

    love your blog! 

    • foodess

      Thanks Clarice! 

  • Nicole

    Hey, so after reading your blog for a while, it just dawned on me that you’re from Vancouver, and I’m visiting this weekend (haven’t been before aside from a meal on the way to Whistler) and was hoping you might have some suggestions of things to do, well, mostly things to eat. I’m already planning on checking out the Eat! Vancouver festival – and I’ve been told to eat as much seafood and sushi as possible while here, but figured you might have some specific places to check out. Thanks!

    • foodess

       Hi Nicole! If you’re looking for great sushi, try Hapa Izakaya in Kitsilano, and then go for a walk on the beach.  A trip to Vancouver isn’t complete without Indian food from Vij’s! I like Meat & Bread downtown for lunch, and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you should try Bella Gelateria on the downtown waterfront.  Have a great weekend!

      • Nicole

        Thanks for the recommendations Jennifer! I’m so excited for this weekend, just hoping it doesn’t rain too much (apparently it’s in the forecast). Beautiful pictures from KY (and of the julep) – sounds like a great trip. I’ve been yearning to make a trip to the South for a while as well, perhaps it’ll be next.

        • foodess

          You’re welcome! Can’t let the rain stop you in this city! Bring your rubber boots & an umbrella :-P

          • Nicole

            A belated thanks for the recommendations – we managed to check out Vij’s (amazing, particularly the jackfruit app and cocktails, my favorite was called the Dark Army I believe), and Hapa Izakaya (and the requisite beach stroll). Also worth noting – we loved the cocktails at Pourhouse and The Diamond in the Gastown area, and the dim sum at Kirin. Seriously already contemplating a second (longer) trip, I love how walkable the city is! 

          • foodess

            You’re welcome, glad you enjoyed the Vancouver food scene!!

  • Linda

    Now this looks good! I’m off to the garden now to pick my mint and make the syrup for a nice drink later. Thanks for the post.

    • foodess

      Straight from the garden – couldn’t ask for better!

  • Lauri

    My grandmother-in-law gave us sterling silver mint juleps for a wedding gift.  I grow my own mint and it’s always up and ready just in time for the derby!  The silver cup keeps the drink extremely cold.  Ahhhh…

    • foodess

      Aww, I love that story! Thanks for sharing :-)

  • 20somethingcupcakes

    Love your photos of the old part of town! How beautiful. It was so great meeting you!

    • foodess

      So great meeting you too, Sarah!

  • Simply Tia

    Goodness! I just made this last week. Mint Juleps are delicious. Yours look super refreshing and tasty. I had the same porch vision when I made mine!!!