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Jan 8, 2009 08:47 AM

Non Alcoholic Mint Julep?

I'm in need of a good non alcohlic mint julep recipe for a reception I'm hosting next week. I've found a few recipes on the internet but they don't look so promising. Any ideas on how to recreate the wonderful mint julep without the bourbon would be fantastic!

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  1. They may kick you out of the Commonwealth of Virginia of you try that.
    The central ingredient in a Mint Julep is bourbon or at least a good sour mash.

    If you really, truly have to, for some God forsaken reason, perhaps you could use a very strong iced tea, of approximately the same color as bourbon, and proceed with the recipe for a classic Julep.
    At least use Lipton.
    I would warn people and call it something campy however so that you don't spend the entire reception defending yourself against the Sons and Daughters of the South who are sure to have something to say about this.
    There will likely be a few who will talk about you behind you back anyway.

    Bless your heart, I wish you well.

    3 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense

      :) Thank you for the advice and I wholeheartedly agree with you! However, this is for something with my a school...during the day...with kids. They asked for it, therefore they shall receive!

      1. re: krisrishere

        Oh, my. This seems almost like those fake candy cigarettes we had when we were kids.
        Let's pretend we're smoking and drinking.

        Guess the strong tea would do it for the kiddies.
        I suppose you could go heavy on the history of the concoction if you're doing any kind of program with it.
        One of things I've always found fascinating is ICE in the South. How in the world did they manage to get it with the relatively mild Winters and keep it so long with the hot Summers? It was a real luxury not that very long ago.
        Mr. Jefferson had to have his occasional ice cream to serve at Monticello. That must have really wowed his dinner guests.

        Anyway, good luck, and thanks for bringing the extra enrichment to the schools.

        1. re: MakingSense

          Just to clarify: kids get lemonade, parents get non-alcoholic mint juleps. :) I'll have to experiment with your tea idea. Thank you very much.

    2. It's not possible. As MakingSense mentioned, bourbon is THE key ingredient. It's not simply an addition, it's not a subtle flavoring agent, it IS the drink.

      Making a mint julep with no bourbon and calling it a mint julep isn't a good idea. Compare it to roasting a leg of lamb and calling it chicken. It simply doens't make sense.

      It doens't mean that whatever concoction you create won't be good, it just means that you can't call it a mint julep.

      Call it something else. Call it mint iced tea if you use the tea idea, because that's what it is. It's not a mint julep.

      4 Replies
      1. re: HaagenDazs

        What about the use of a bourbon extract in its place? Not the same but closer?

        1. re: krisrishere

          I think your idea is nice but you're just going about it in the wrong way. If a mint julep isn't a drink you can serve to some friends during the afternoon, then go with something else. Trying to make up a non-alcoholic version of a drink that primarily contains a very recognizable alcohol (the bourbon) is kind of silly to me... I'll put it this way: If I was offered such a thing at a party or picnic or get-together, and told that it was a non-alcoholic mint julep I think I would laugh.

          I'm not trying to be mean here, it just doesn't make sense. If you want a minty beverage, add some minty sugar syrup to iced tea and call it mint-iced tea, don't call it a mint julep. Reserve the alcohol for an evening dinner or a horse race weekend.

          Compare it to a virgin bloody mary.

          A bloody mary is mostly tomato juice and other spices and veggies served with vodka, right? The primary ingredient in that drink isn't the vodka so you can fairly easily eliminate that, the main ingredient is the tomato juice. Now imagine trying to make a bloody mary but take away the main ingredient, the tomato, and replace it with say... grapefruit or orange juice. Doesn't really sound like a bloody mary anymore does it? That's what I'm getting at.

          1. re: HaagenDazs

            Mix mint in Coke and tell the parents to keep their traps shut for the kids sake.

            Mint juleps have this cute sounding name but they are a pretty intense cocktail - is this really a good kid message? I mean, what if students were drinking lemonade and the parents are slurping down faux dirty martinis or manhattans?

            1. re: grant.cook

              Agreed - I'm not for isolating kids from everything related to alcohol, they should know what it is and why to avoid it, but in this situation it just doesn't work or make sense.

      2. Thank you all for your input, however I cannot change the drink nor the name of the drink. It is simply a small school function to kick off a special event in the Spring which reflects the nature of the theme; horse races. It will be mostly parents with probably a few children. This went through many approving channels down to me (catering coordinator for the school), the person who has to bring it to fruition. I understand and agree with every word that has been said however I don't have the authority to change it. It's done.

        I will take the great ideas that you have given me and give these people a faux mint julep. Thank you again.

        3 Replies
        1. re: krisrishere

          Sounds like you're stuck.
          The best thing may just be a heavily minted iced tea with a sprig of mint hanging out of it to emphasize the point.
          I believe that "bourbon" extract is alcohol-based and it probably has a dreadful flavor. Why bother? Just go with the flow.
          The parents can hardly expect to get likker-ed up at a school function anyway. At least at most schools these days.
          If you budget allows, there are silver-colored "julep" cups available that you may be able to find on-line. They're really pretty festive. We've used them for big parties for Derby Day. Nobody has that many of the real thing any more.

          I really do hate to give kids "pretend" booze. They seem to find ways to start on their own early enough without encouraging it. Let their parents assume that responsibility if they want.
          We used to use the rule of "how would this look in the newspaper"? Can't you see a photo of a bunch of kids lounging around with julep cups? Ouch. Not on my watch!

          1. re: MakingSense

            Ditto my thoughts on the pretend booze.

            Amoung other things, Lush-Lady Sandra Lee disgusts me when she does her kiddie-cocktails.

          2. re: krisrishere

            sorry you got stuck with it.

            I, too, would go with the minted tea idea, but I would experiment with adding a drop of liquid smoke to a glass of the tea to see if that brings out something more interesting.

          3. Disneyland serves a (non-alcoholic) mint julep, so it's not that much of a sacrilege. No Sons & Daughters of the American Revolution banging down the doors.

            It tastes largely like mint-limeade. Very refreshing on a hot day. You might try making a strong mint simple syrup and using it to make lemonade, or adding it to iced tea. I think that's where I'd start.

            3 Replies
            1. re: cyberroo

              Oh yeah - because Disney is the utmost authority on quality food & drink, especially bourbon-based drinks. ;-)

              1. re: HaagenDazs

                Nope, but they are an authority on the feeding and hydrating of schoolkids and their non-foodie parents, and this sounds like it's up that alley.

                1. re: cyberroo

                  True - point taken. If anyone is good at producing measly, hyped-up crap it's Disney!

            2. I cant believe how this thread ended up. It only takes one rude, self aborbed, over inflated ego to destroy every one's space. I know it is long gone - but here is a recipe in case you have to try this drink again.
              People who dont want a non alcoholic mint julep dont have to drink it. If they want to laugh out loud - hand them the mic- who the hell cares what they think? It is for the children, not to impress someone who has no desire to help. I doubt with the crap that goes on all over this country that you'd be chased out of anywhere - unless that's what you want.


              1 Reply
              1. re: dulcesonrisa

                Thanks for support - much appreciated. I ended up making a simple syprup infused with mint and terribly strong tea. Everyone raved about it; it was actually really good. No one complained about it not being a real "mint julep", they were too wrapped up in the themed party to notice or even care.