Considered the quintessential southern concoction, Juleps should be enjoyed by all who appreciate a delicious injection of frost cool when things heat up. I hope it will inspire a new wave of Julep devotees.
- 3 slices fresh apricot
- 12-14 fresh spearmint leaves
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- Crushed ice
- 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey
- ½ ounce Rothman & Winter Orchard apricot liqueur
Place 3 slices of fresh apricot and 12 to 14 mint leaves in each cup, add simple syrup, and gentle muddle with a wooden muddler.
Next fill the cup with crushed ice, add bourbon and apricot liqueur, then stir to mix. Top the cup with crushed ice, then continue to stir until a frost forms on the outside of the cup.
Garnish with a "bonnet" of mint (3 or 4 sprigs bundled together). Add a straw or Julep spoon before serving to keep your guest a safe distance from the garnish.
You may want to serve linen napkins with your Juleps to keep warm hands from coming in contact with the frosty cup.
MUDDLE apricot in base of shaker. Add other ingredients, SHAKE with ice and fine strain into cup half filled with crushed ice. CHURN (stir) the drink with the crushed ice using a bar spoon. Top up with more crushed ice and CHURN again. Repeat this process so the drink fills the cup and frost forms on the outside.
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Keep scrolling down to the recipe card for a list of FULL ingredient amounts and instructions or click the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page!
- Simple syrup – See recipe notes for making your own simple syrup.
- Fresh mint – Using fresh mint is a must! The flavor and oils that come out from muddling is pertinent for a mint julep.
- Bourbon – Use your favorite.
- Ice – Make sure you’re using crushed ice. If you only have cubes, add them to a freezer bag, seal it, and beat the cubes with a mallet or rolling pin.
- Soda water – Optional to top off your julep.
How to Make a Mint Julep
It wouldn't be right to drink anything but this minty bourbon cocktail for the Kentucky Derby.
- Place mint leaves in the bottom of a pre-chilled, dry pewter cup. Add sugar and crush slightly with a muddler.
- Pack glass with finely cracked ice, then pour a generous 3 ounces of Kentucky bourbon over the ice.
- Stir briskly until the glass frosts.
- Add more ice and stir again before serving. Stick a few sprigs of mint into the ice to get the aroma.
A few things to keep in mind for a truly great mint julep:
- Use a pre-chilled, dry 12- or 14-ounce glass, tall and slim (better yet, a traditional silver beaker).
- Crack the ice, making sure to drain off any excess water before putting it in the glass.
- Don't handle the glass with bare hands, as the touch of a hand kills the frost.
- Likewise, each julep should be served with a napkin or small linen doily.
- The glass will not frost if in the wind, if wet, with undried ice, or if excessively handled. You can sometimes speed the frost by twirling the glass or by placing it in coldest part of refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Use only the freshest mint and, of that, the smallest, most tender leaves.
- If you use a straw, keep it short so you can get your nose in among the mint.
The Mint Julep is a finicky drink if you want to make it right. Your silver beaker should be pre-chilled. Your ice should be cracked and drained of excess water. Your mint leaves should be the freshest, smallest, most tender that you can find. And god forbid you touch the cup too much with your bare hands or anywhere but the top or bottom, killing the frost.
But this cocktail is worth the special attention for the chance to bury you nose in aromatic mint and douse your tastebuds with sweet Kentucky bourbon. So whether you're making one to sip during the Kentucky Derby horse race, as is tradition, or you want to cool off on a sticky summer day, here's how to make a Mint Julep at home.
A Little Background
Every year, we drink Mint Juleps by the gallon as we watch horses with names like Win Win Win, Roadster, and Long Range Toddy tear around a race track. The cool, refreshing bourbon-based cocktail is near synonymous with the Kentucky Derby. But back in the 18th century, the mint julep was an American Southern cocktail that denoted the provider as a person of means. This mostly comes down to the fact it's made with ice, and ice was hard to come by back in the day. It's also a drink that was once traditionally served in crystal or silver cups, which were not exactly common among working folk.
Speaking of persons of means, it was famed Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser (you might remember him from American history class), who brought the Mint Julep to Washington, D.C in 1850. From there, it became a favorite of Teddy Roosevelt, who plied his cabinet members with juleps to get them to play tennis with him. Writer William Faulkner was famous for his love of a good julep, and F. Scott Fitzgerald gave the julep a role in the Great Gatsby as Daisy's cocktail of choice. Ray Charles' 1961 take on the drinking song "One Mint Julep" climbed the R&B and pop music charts.
But to this day, it's still the Kentucky Derby that has dominion over the Mint Julep it became the Derby's official cocktail in 1938, rooting it firmly in American Southern culture. Woodford Reserve regularly serves a luxe $1,000 Mint Julep with its own bourbon at the Derby. Only 145 people will get to shell out for that honor this year, but nearly 120,000 other attendees will down a more classic julep at Churchill Downs made with Old Forester Mint Julep bourbon. It's not too late to get your julep supplies prepped for the race&mdashor to put money down on Game Winner.
If You Like This, Try These
The julep wasn't always made with bourbon. In Georgia, they served it with peach cognac. In Maryland, it was made with rye. You can make a killer one with mezcal, or with brandy and rum. Don't feel tied to Kentucky whiskey. Of course, the Mojito will get you your mint-and-liquor fix, and you'll need a lot less ice to make it.
What You Need
Here&rsquos what you need to do a Mint Julep justice, beyond what you might be able to dig out of the fridge or cupboard. And remember: Always use the freshest mint.
- 3 to 5 fresh mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons desired julep syrup (see below)
- Crushed ice
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 1 fresh mint sprig
Place mint leaves and syrup in a chilled julep cup, and muddle. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice add bourbon and mint sprig.
Mint Syrup: Boil 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 1/2 cups water, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat add 15 fresh mint sprigs, and cool completely. Cover and chill 24 hours. Strain syrup discard solids.
Grapefruit-Honey Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, reducing sugar to 1/2 cup and stirring 3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice, 1/2 cup honey, 3 (2- x 4-inch) grapefruit rind strips, and rind from 1 lime, cut into strips, into sugar mixture with mint. For julep, muddle with 1 small grapefruit rind strip.
Peach-Basil Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, substituting basil for mint and stirring 2 (5-oz.) cans peach nectar and 1 split vanilla bean into sugar mixture with basil. For julep, muddle with 1 peach slice.
Blackberry Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, adding 6 oz. fresh blackberries, halved, with mint. For julep, muddle with 2 fresh blackberries.
Pineapple-Lemongrass Syrup: Prepare Mint Syrup as directed, reducing granulated sugar to 1 cup, adding 1/2 cup light brown sugar to granulated sugar and water, and stirring 1 cup pineapple juice, 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, and 3 (3-inch) pieces fresh lemongrass into sugar mixture with mint after removing from heat. For julep, muddle with 1 small fresh pineapple chunk.
I had trouble with this recipe. The dough was to sticky to form into rolls. On my second batch I learned to cut up the almonds and the apricots much smaller, and I turned the dough out on a floored board and used floured hands to form the dough. I then used wax paper to roll the dough . Much better results!
I made these and gave to neighbors this year. They were a huge hit. But you definitely need to chop the almonds, and I made the apricot pieces a bit smaller too. I also made three rolls for a smaller biscotti. Even then, in no way does this recipe make 5 1/2 dozen. I sprinkled the top with some vanilla sugar.
This recipe is good. I used 2% milk and 1/2 tsp almond extract instead of 1/4 (because I love almond flavor). Iɽ recommend chopping the almonds into smaller pieces.
I used toasted walnuts instead of almonds, and it turned out great. I will definitely make this again.
This recipe is really easy and delicious! It's very versatile--you can sub pretty much any fruit/nut combo. I used dried apricots, cranberries, almonds, and white chocolate chips. Second batch, eliminated almond extract and used lemon zest, cranberries, and white chocolate. GREAT! Only thing--I didn't get anywhere near 5.5 dozen!
Definately not my favorite biscotti recipe. I'm not sure if the apricots weren't just fresh enough or what, but the flavor lacked. The texture was fine and they baked nicely. This recipe was more work than other biscotti recipes I have made. Used my food processor to cut the butter and flour. Would recommend chopping the almonds as left whole made it difficult to cut nicely. I loved the idea of almonds and apricots, but this was disappointing. I will say my husband and daughter did like them. I may try them again with different apricots to see if that is where the problem was.
Great recipe! They came out wonderfully even in my half sized electric oven!! I used dates instead of apricots and they were delicious. I will definitely be making these again and experimenting with different combinations.
This is a GREAT base recipe. you have 2 cups of "stuff" to work with - for example, it calls for 1 cup almonds and 1 cup apricots. So far I have used almonds and golden raisins, almonds and cranberries and even almonds and crystallized ginger (only 1/3 cup minced) and it always comes out great! It gives you the flexibility to use whatever nuts and dried fruit you have in the cabinet!
Every Christmas I make biscotti for friends and family. I usually make 5 or 6 kinds but this one is the only that people fight over. My husband stands over the oven with a knife waiting for them to come out after the 1st baking. I usually make this recipe as is but will use white chocolate chips. I chop the almonds and apricots separately and mix them in at the end. I add apricot oil and sometimes include amaretto, depending on my mood. Let's just say I've got the recipe memorized I've made it so many times!
These are a disappointment. more complicated than they need to be and the flavor doesn't grab me. Also tried the almond anise biscotti and they were fabulous. This recipe is now ditched, not to be made again.
I'm going to try this again with 2 eggs and no milk - although the dough was very easy to handle, these did not crisp as well as the chocolate ginger recipe.
I've made a lot of biscotti in my day but I think this recipe is the best yet. sensible proportions (not too much butter, not too many eggs) and good ratios make for delicious biscotti! I subbed 1/3 cup cocoa powder for an equal amount of flour. yummm
This is the best Biscotti recipe I have ever tasted. Slicing is tricky so I have switched to sliced almonds with good results. It is a very versatile recipe and I have tried it with many different dried fruits. Most recently I used dried pears with diced crystalized ginger and replaced the milk with pear brandy. They were delicious.
I like this recipe. I chopped the apricots as well and kneaded them into the dough and they turned out very well. I want to try this with some other dried fruit we enjoy, i.e. dates.
I must really like this recipe to review it TWICE. Ha! Sorry.
these biscotti are very tasty. I made them in the processor with great success, chopping the apricots first.
Made this in the processor with NO problems, but less mess.
There are a few things I'll change next time I make these. I had problems both with rolling the dough and cutting because of the whole almonds. I think next time I'll use chopped ones and maybe try some of the fruit suggestions others have made. Can't wait to try again!
I started making this to bring to family gatherings in 2002. Now, if I were to dare arrive without them, my whole family will freak out.
I've been making these since 2002 when the recipe first appeared in the magazine. They are always successful and requested treat.
I make this recipe a lot. Try dried cranberrries instead of the apricot for a holiday touch. Golden raisins are a tasty substitute too. I put the fruit in with the almonds (bypassing one step) so you do see specks of fruit on the outside of the log. which is ok with me. I also form the dough directly into the 14 inch log (forget the disk), wrap in cellophane and freeze for 1-2 hours (makes the dough easier to roll out on to parchment paper, no need for wet hands). As everyone says, the cutting is tricky. make sure you let it cool before you transfer to the cutting board (minimum 20 minutes). While some may break during the process, that's just more culls for you to eat! You can't get a bad tasting wafer from this recipe.
A great trick for slicing biscotti is to score the tops of the baked logs with a serrated knife, then slice through with a sharp chef's knife.
I had never made biscotti before. This was an easy recipe!! It did crumble a little. Next time I will flatten the log and hope it will prevent some of the natural cracking that happens when it bakes. YUM!!
definitely use a good serrated bread knife to cut! I've tried several knives and it seems to work the best. The last batch didn't have any breaks! And I didn't need to chop the almonds first.
Yikes! We didn't check the reviews before making these cookies. We ended up with biscotti crumbles. We probably ended up with 6 slices that came out perfect. A dud.
Now all of you can also couch spectate for the fastest horse race ever while enjoying the very BEST Mint Julep recipe in your very own home. In your sweaty gym clothes or in your PJ’s….or in your own giant fascinator and garden party dress.
What is a Mint Julep?
The Mint Julep has a loooooong history and can be traced back to the middle east but let’s just fast forward a bit. It’s now a staple in the American south and a must have cocktail at the Kentucky Derby. A bourbon based libation, it’s traditionally served in a highball glass or a silver julep cup.
How do you make a classic Mint Julep?
The Mint Julep cocktail is really simple to make with a few ingredients, although I share a few easy variations below.
To make your easy Mint Julep:
- Place a few mint leaves in the bottom of your glass and top with simple syrup or caster sugar (superfine sugar).
- Using a muddler, gently muddle the leaves in the bottom of the glass.
- Top with the bourbon and then fill the glass with ice.
- Add the water to the glass and garnish with mint.
- Serve immediately.
How simple is that? Faster than placing your bet at the race, right? I can never decide which horse deserves my hard earned dollar. And I always lose so….I should just save my money for more Mint Juleps.
What kind of mint is used in a Mint Julep?
Traditionally, the Classic Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby is made with spearmint, which is always my mint of choice. You can use whatever mint that is readily available to you. And feel free to mix things up and try other herbs….I have made one with basil, accidentally, once and it wasn’t awful. At all.
How is it served?
All Mint Julep cocktails are served on the rocks….over ice. But to be sure your cocktail is the very BEST Mint Julep and true to tradition, be sure to use crushed or shaved ice. And mound the ice high in the glass, almost like an adult snow cone. Actually, it’s exactly like an adult snow cone now that I think about it.
First of all, this recipe for the BEST Mint Julep is a bit different because I use seltzer instead of flat water. But I like to add a few twists and turns to make my drink a little more interesting.
Here are a few ways to put a fresh spin on your cocktail:
- Flavored seltzers go incredibly well in this recipe….my favorites are orange or VANILLA!
- Add fruit like blueberries or raspberries to the bottom with the mint before muddling to add a fresh fruity taste.
- Switch out the mint for basil or thyme or lavender….I know, gasp!
- Skip the sugar and use caramel sauce for a deeper, richer flavor.
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This not-too-sweet concoction flavored with apricots and herbs is a nice change of pace for Mojito or Julep fans. The fruit gives the drink a fair amount of body, but it’ll also help you sip slowly and enjoy the lackadaisical days of summer. Pair this seasonal drink with a seasonal snack—try it with our zucchini bread.
What to buy: Look for ripe apricots, to impart as much flavor as possible. If apricots aren’t looking good, you can substitute 1 peach or nectarine.
This recipe was featured as part of our Summer Fruit Cocktails recipe gallery.
Apricots come into season in the U.S. in May and continue to grace us with their lovely fragrant presence until August. These beta-carotene and vitamin C rich fruit are wonderful in homemade jams and fruit crumbles, but they can also be used to add a seasonal and fresh twist to your favorite warm-weather cocktails.
How to choose and store apricots
Choose apricots that have a vivid orange or reddish color. Avoid those that are very pale or yellowish. They should not be mushy at all but, ideally, will have a slight softness to them. Overly hard apricots signify that they have not been tree-ripened &mdash and tree-ripened fruits always taste best.
If you’re not able to find perfectly ripe apricots, store them at room temperature in a paper bag for a few days until ripe.
Ripe apricots should ideally be used or consumed right away, but if they are not, store them in the refrigerator in a sealed container. Keep in mind that apricots will not ripen anymore after they are refrigerated.
How to use apricots
Use apricots as you would peaches in any of your favorite baked desserts or toss them with spinach, blue cheese and almonds for a perfect summer salad. Or, for a fun way to kick off the beginning of the warm weather season, make this simple apricot puree. The puree can be used in one of these three delicious cocktail recipes, or for whatever your imagination comes up with.
Simple apricot puree recipe
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Press the pureed mixture through a fine sieve, discarding the leftover solids.
This is a fun, seasonal take on the traditional mimosa to serve at your next summertime brunch soiree.
- Place the apricot puree in the bottom of a Champagne flute.
- Fill the remainder of the glass with the sparkling wine. Serve immediately.
Apricot bourbon cocktail
- 2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce apricot puree
- 1/4 ounce lemon juice
- 3 fresh mint leaves
- Combine the bourbon, apricot puree and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker over ice. Tear the mint with your hands and add to the shaker.
- Shake vigorously until everything is incorporated and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with extra mint if desired.
The Crazy Jane
This cocktail is currently the most popular drink at Home Restaurant in New York City. People love the earthy rosemary juxtaposed with fresh, fragrant apricots.
- 1-1/2 ounces rosemary-infused vodka (recipe below)
- 1/2 ounce apricot puree
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- Lime wedge for garnish
- Combine all ingredients, except for the lime wedge, in a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake vigorously.
- Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice and garnish with the lime wedge.
- Place the rosemary in a quart-sized Mason jar or other glass container. Pour in the vodka and seal the top of the jar. Place in a cool, dry place and allow to infuse for 24 to 36 hours.
- Strain the mixture and discard the rosemary. Store in a clean glass bottle or jar for up to three weeks.
See what else is in season now >>
More fresh apricot recipes
Fresh apricot marinade
Apricot and cream cheese coffeecake
Apricot goat cheese bruschetta
Passover apricot bars
This wanderer has finally come home. After nearly 25 years of being a guest at Passover dinners across the country, I’m doing the cooking.
I’ve at last accumulated all the necessary elements: the house, the table, the recipes and the position as my tiny family’s matriarch, but not the confidence that comes with years of experience. My family long ago abandoned Passover’s rituals, which freed me to explore it everywhere else. I was the guest who fulfilled the holiday’s custom to invite the poor or the homeless.
As a displaced student and journalist, I joined the tables of college roommates, co-workers and friendly temple yentas with unmarried sons. Grateful for the hospitality, I collected recipes from my hosts, with hope that, someday, I’d recreate the experiences I’d gathered.
Now it’s time. The weeklong holiday of Passover, which begins next Wednesday at sundown, presents an opportunity to eat vast amounts of traditional comfort foods and drink at least four glasses of wine, all while celebrating the blessings of spring and our ancestors’ triumph over oppression. Cabinets and menus are cleaned of chometz, that is, anything containing leavening.
Sweeping crumbs is, pardon the expression, a piece of cake compared to the whammy of finding my recipe collection. Something like 20 moves in 20 years in five states overwhelmed any attempt at organization.
They landed as haphazardly as they arrived. Some were dictated over the phone by mothers, faxed by friends, scribbled in pencil by great-great-aunts, presented in entire cookbooks, or downloaded and e-mailed. For verification of long-forgotten techniques (and an excuse to say hello), I called old friends and pleaded for faxes from a 1984 cookbook.
I dug through long-forgotten boxes for my own three-ring binder jammed with yellowed and splattered recipes clipped from newspapers and begged from ancient cooks who barely remembered their names, much less mine.
The bits and pieces of paper -- hole-punched and pasted in the “ethnic” section -- formed a random chronicle of my many encounters with Jewish cooks.
Collecting recipes is one thing, choosing and deciphering them is another. A binder of my mother’s best recipes offered her classic tzimmes, chopped liver, herring and more. A confident cook like my paternal great-grandmother, my mother often skipped specifics. Directions? “Cook till done.” My great-grandmothers’ tattered cookbooks from the early 1900s, written with pen and ink, left me wondering how big, exactly, is a goose egg-sized matzo ball.
Worse, which version of perfect matzo balls shall I feature? The olive oil- and garlic-flavored puffs from Robin’s cousin in Dallas? Or the ones boiled in broth and frozen from L.A.? Should I slightly sugar the chopped liver, like Bubbe in Oklahoma City, or smooth it with margarine and gelatin like Anna in Indiana? Her French mother made it more as a pate.
Don’t get me started on the kugel variations -- my apple cinnamon, my mother’s cherry and pineapple, the Cohen’s onion and schmaltz or the potato carrot from Temple Israel in Gary, Ind., where I met the Rothenbergs and other lifelong friends. Maybe all four.
Andrea, a cat-rescuing Chicagoan also exiled to Texas, couldn’t recall how -- or if -- we made her fish koklaten vegetarian for our New Age, feminist Seder/ birthday party years ago in Dallas, so I’ll have to figure out how to make a passable vegan meal for two of my guests.
I’d make that wiggly strawberry gelatin mold I brought to Pasadena 10 years ago, but somehow, it’s forever linked with the memory of sportswriter Phil Rosenthal describing his gallbladder operation. Dessert must include my dentist cousin’s no-fail apricot bars.
This first-time Seder should be traditional and modern healthy and indulgent and delicious, as well as geographically diverse.
In other words, I’m using the same recipe selection method common to Jewish mothers: I’m cooking everybody’s favorite dishes, but none of them made the final cut without also being my best-loved.
It’s tricky making this meal well. The Jewish calendar and the lengthy ceremony are at odds with fine dining. Often falling in the middle of the week, Passover’s timing forces many working women to freeze the meal ahead of time. The food gets reheated to a crumbly dryness as the ceremony crawls along.
Maybe it’s a Jewish fear of eating anything undercooked, the absence of flour or the presence of so much egg and oil, but many of Passover’s adapted recipes are so indigestible, they’ve become the cuisine of suffering. Perhaps to offset the effects of matzo -- “the bread of affliction” -- fruit compote has become a mandatory feature.
It’s a time for absolutes. Everyone’s mother’s kugel is their favorite. No one can really make matzo balls light enough. Chicken soup is becoming a lost art. You’re a genius, or insane, if you make your own gefilte fish.
Passover is a time of special significance for Jews, often because the holiday themes and its food are bittersweet. The pungent horseradish, the sweet fruits and the salty soup help illustrate the melancholy story of suffering and exodus into the Promised Land. And at the tables of the noisy, happy families I visited, I collected more than recipes.
I collected history, a refined Jewish identity, and a new way of appreciating it all. The food of my many Passovers isn’t gourmet but Eastern European peasant grub, lovingly prepared and generously offered.
It seems a shame to limit my experience, and now my son’s, to that of just my own table. Next week, we’ve been invited to Venice for a children’s Seder on the first night of Passover. We’re recreating the 10 plagues in food, or toys, or something creative. I’m still cooking our own family Seder on the second night, but I just can’t pass up that first-night invitation.