Classic Mint Julep Recipe

This Classic Mint Julep Recipe originated in the South. Originally known as “smashers,” juleps are muddled with mint and bourbon. Traditionally a drink for the elite, due to the cost of alcohol and ice before electricity.  Mint juleps gained notoriety due to the Kentucky Derby. Starting around 1938, juleps became popular at the event, and voila! This tradition popularized them across the country, especially in summer. Mint Juleps are cold and crisp, perfect for hot summer days by the pool. Replacing sugar with honey only makes it better.

Mint Julep with Honey in silver cup on table

A Twist on a Summer Tradition

Silver glasses were traditionally used when muddling a julep. Take a hint from the past when making your cocktails, and use a metallic highball glass to keep everything extra cold. You don’t need to be as fancy as a Derby goer: just have fun with this cocktail!

Although there are many varieties of mint, spearmint was and still is the mint of choice for this drink, as it offers the most potent and concentrated flavors. Using your own homegrown mint is perfect for this recipe. Mint is easy to grow and quickly regenerates after a harvest.

A honeybee foraging in our pollinator garden planted on 40 acres on Chesterhaven Beach Farm
Bee foraging on mountain mint on Chesterhaven Beach Farm

Other less traditional varieties of mint may be fun to experiment with for a unique drink for guests. Incidentally, bees also love mint, and it’s a strong source of food for them. Growing several varieties will bolster the food sources that are available to pollinators.

How to Make a Classic Mint Julep with Honey

The first thing to do is to gather up the ingredients. You only need a few and it takes just a few minutes to make a mint julep with honey, though your friends and family will think that you slaved over these, and I bet that they’ll ask what the secret ingredient is!

  • boiling water
  • mint leaves
  • Waxing Kara Honey
  • bourbon
  • crushed ice
  • blossoming mint for garnish (if available)

Making a mint julep with honey is easy

  • Pour boiling water from a kettle or pot into a small bowl. Add mint leaves; stir until wilted. Add honey; stir until dissolved. Let mixture stand until cool; strain and discard mint. In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 oz. bourbon with honey mint syrup and ice. Shake
  • To serve, pour contents of cocktail shaker over crushed ice in a frosted silver tumbler or rocks glass. Garnish with blossoming mint sprigs.

Adapting our Classic Mint Julep Recipe with Honey

Feel free to experiment with the varieties of mint that you muddle into the drink! They will give different aromas and flavors that can significantly change the cocktail, and become your signature cocktail.

Some other types of mint to try include:

  • Chocolate Mint for a flavor similar to a peppermint pattie
  • Apple Mint features softer fragrances and flavors
  • Grapefruit Mint is complex in flavor, with undertones of citrus and pepper

If you decide to try making this recipe, share a snapshot with us using #waxingkararecipes on Instagram. We love seeing your photos!

Mint Juleps with Honey

We adapted our Classic Mint Julep Recipe from one from the Honey Board.

Mint Julep with Honey in silver cup on table

Classic Mint Julep made with honey

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: classic mint julep, mint julep, mint julep made with honey
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 159kcal
I think of a Mint Julep drink, the next two words in my head are Kentucky Derby. This is a classic mint julep recipe but we've replaced processed sugar with honey. This adds to the depth of flavor!
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. boiling water
  • 8 mint leaves fresh picked
  • 1 -1/2 tbsp. Waxing Kara Honey
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • crushed ice
  • 1 sprig mint blossoming, for garnish

Instructions

  • Pour boiling water over honey in a small bowl. Stir until dissolved. Add mint leaves; stir until wilted.
  • Let mixture stand until cool; strain and discard mint. In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 oz. bourbon with honey mint syrup. Shake.
  • Pour bourbon mixture over crushed ice in frosted tumbler or tall glass. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Nutrition

Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 45mg | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 340IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Mint Julep with Honey

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