The Drink of the Derby

Making Mint Juleps for a Crowd

On Derby Day, you should never be far from a mint julep. Sweet and minty with a hefty bourbon punch, this iconic drink is a crowd pleaser.

This recipe will help you prepare drinks for a big bunch of revelers, so make sure to invite friends.


Makes 26-30 servings.

1 liter Maker’s Mark
Lots of fresh mint
1 cup Distilled water
1 cup Granulated sugar
Mint sprigs for garnish

Prepare the mint extract.

  • Remove about 40 mint leaves – wash and place in a small bowl.
  • Cover with Maker’s Mark (about 3 oz).
  • Soak the leaves for at least 15 minutes.
  • Gather the leaves in a clean, soap-free piece of cotton cloth and vigorously wring the mint bundle over the bowl of bourbon.
  • Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times.
  • Set extract aside.

Prepare the simple syrup.

  • Mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of water in a cooking pot.
  • Heat to dissolve the sugar.
  • Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn.
  • Let cool.

Prepare the julep mixture.

  • Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to 3 ½ cups of Maker’s Mark.
  • Add the mint extract small amounts at a time to the julep mixture, and taste as you add. Repeat until right. You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste – generally about 3 tablespoons of mint extract, but this varies for each batch.
  • Refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to “marry” the flavors.


Serve the juleps.

  • If you don’t have julep cups, use any cocktail glass that allows your nose to sniff and smell the “bloom” of mint.
  • Pack each glass to the top with crushed ice. Allow the outside of the glass to frost.
  • Pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice and garnish with mint sprig.

Use a straw, sip slowly, and enjoy!