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Jan 12, 2004 08:02 AM

Boubbon -Mint Julip

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I will be visiting Louisville this year for the Derby. This will be my 10th staight year. I completely enjoy the festivities during Derby week and consume a fair share of mint julips during this period. Just one thing. The mint julips served at the track has a taste and flavor that I find better then julips served elsewhere. Maybe imagination, but each year I observe this. The recipe at the track is printed on napkins, programms etc, so certainly is no secret. The only conclusion I reach is that it has to be the brand of bourbon used. I have asked bartenders around Louisville and they don't know. The servers at the track say they don't know either since they never see the drink being made. The closest I have found was with Old Grandad bourbon and Jim Beam a close sedond, but neither seem to equal the one at the track. Does anyone know what brand of bourbon is used at Churchill Downs for the mint julips?

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  1. Maybe Southern Comfort?

    The general public likes them sweeter than the old traditionalists.


    4 Replies
    1. re: Tom-Fl

      Interesting question. I have mine locally with Early Times and I find it resembles Churchill Downs vaersion. I don't believe, but could be wrong, that Southern Comfort is considered a bourbon, but rather a liquer. But, who knows.

      1. re: Erick

        I' m born and bred ,several generations, and don't dispute the old traditions.

        Early Times had the contract at Louisville and Lexington for a number of years,for the price.

        Try to find a traditional bourbon drinker that would mix a good bottle up with sugar and vegetables.

        An observation,as an ol' bartender,of what visitors tend to enjoy.

        Most bartenders will bet you your winnings for the day,that if you pour enough simple sugar syrup,any brown booze,and lots of crushed mint,it will be the best that you have had.

        Somehow that frosted solid silver julip cup adds to the taste.

        Even sterling looks good.

        Merely an observation.


        1. re: Tom-Fl

          Not being from Kentucky, I failed to realise how much bourbon is a part of society. Therefore, I did not intend to cause a controversy. Sorry. But thanks for the replys. Early Times it is.

          1. re: Bormann

            I may be late with this posting, but I understand that Woodford Reserve now has the contract for the Derby julips (but I'm willing to bet that Maker's Mark would make a dang great julip!!).

    2. According to the official Web site, they use "Early Times Kentucky Whiskey."

      See the following link for the recipe.


      1. I'm fairly certain they use Early Times' premix julep. It's not bad. Makers Mark does a green wax bottling of ready-to-go juleps which is better. I only see it in stores around Derby time. When the mint is up in my backyard, I make my own mint syrup: 2 cups water, 2 cups sugar boiled til dissolved. Add lots of fresh mint chopped or whole. Cover and let sit til completely cool. Strain mint leaves and you've got it. 1-2 tablespoons syrup per jigger of bourbon, served with shaved ice in a julep cup. Garnish with fresh mint sprig, a short straw for sipping, and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Hold it in a cloth napkin. Pure joy!

        1. It is definitely Woodford Reserve--I know because they use that fact in their adverts--not cheap--runs about 24 bux a fifth--bought some last summer and made some REAL mint juleps with bar syrup, real mint from my garden and genuine silver plated julep glasses--oh, mama......if you want a treat--do the real thing and do it right--you will always remember that.

          1 Reply
          1. re: KyMikey

            I meant in the Woodford Reserve ads (last year)--unless they just changed brands--altho I agree that Makers Mark would probably make a wicked one, too. I meant to add--don't use tap water--use good bottled water, too. cheap whiskey and cheap water aren't the same.