Bourbon, mint, sugar, ice, and water. That’s all you need to make a traditional mint julep … a drink so popular it has its own sporting event and cup. But if you think making them is as simple as dump-dump-dump, hold your proverbial horses.

It’s an art, Y’all

Almost every article about mint juleps invokes the saga of the “Disgruntled Southern Julepers.” Heard of them? They’re the folks who argue the finer points of a julep’s preparation, like whether to muddle the mint or leave the leaves whole, and whether it’s blasphemy to make a julep with something other than bourbon.

(Of course, those people are far far away in the Philippines. Allegedly, the Manila Hotel has a nice recipe.)

Yes, there’s a sanctity haloing this drink for people who had it before their mama’s milk. But while Food Thinkers believes in preserving the old, we’re all about innovation. Purists will pooh-pooh any recipe for a julep with peach juice in it. But the truth is, we absolutely love how sweet, sunny peaches commingle so well with herbs like mint. In this recipe, they’re a natural pair.

Don’t need no stinkin’ derby to enjoy it

Though the mint julep is associated with the Kentucky Derby, you can drink it long after the first Saturday in May when the race is typically held. In fact, now that local peaches are appearing at farmers’ markets and in grocery stores, the perfect time to make a batch is, frankly, all summer long.

Peach Mint Julep


  • 6 peaches, halved and pitted
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves (or half of a small bunch: leaves on stems juice better)
  • 6 ounces high-quality bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons crème de menthe
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (or simple syrup)
  • ½ cup crushed ice
  • 16 ounces mineral water


  1. Juice peaches and mint.
  2. Stir in bourbon, crème de menthe, and sugar.
  3. Scoop ice into four glasses. Pour juice evenly into all four, top with mineral water, and mix well to combine.