One of the most divisive drinks in history gets its own month to shine, most likely because the lovers outnumber the haters — as it should be. April is Mint Julep Month in Kentucky, and many Louisville bars, restaurants and other businesses are offering specials and discounts starting Saturday, April 1.
The Mint Julep is synonymous with Derby, but unfortunately, the Derby is the only place most people order the traditional Southern cocktail. While they’ve improved somewhat in recent years, they’re still concocted with a pre-made mix and are served in a rushed style that favors quantity over quality.
If you’ve never had an authentic Mint Julep properly made from scratch, do yourself a favor and try one at any of the establishments listed below and/or at one of our dozens of cocktail bars like Proof or Sliver Dollar. The participating businesses below will likely increase, but here is what the folks at the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau put together for now.
8UP — Blackberry Julep (featuring Maker’s 46, house-made blackberry puree and fresh mint)
The Bakery at Sullivan University — Mint Julep Cupcake (bourbon chocolate cake with mint icing) and Mint Julep Cream Pie (chocolate bourbon pastry cream with chocolate curls, fresh mint and mint whipped cream)
Block Party Handmade Boutique (downtown) — Mint Julep-themed products, including ornaments, candles and lip balm
Bourbon Barrel Foods — 25 percent discount on Mint Julep Sugar; also carries items to make and serve your own Mint Julep, including a mallet for crushing ice, an ice bag, julep strainer and julep cups (available in both copper and silver)
Bourbon Raw — Strawberry Mint Julep Lemonade
Bristol Bar & Grille (downtown) — Garden Julep (muddled fresh herbs of rosemary, mint and basil with Buffalo Trace and Drambuie); Royal Julep (Evan Williams Bottled in Bond and benedictine with muddled fresh mint and simple syrup); and Ginger Julep Martini (Basil Hayden with a touch of white crème de menthe and ginger-infused simple syrup)
The Brown Hotel’s English Grill — Mint Julep Garden (spring-picked artisan lettuces topped with Kenny’s Blue Cheese, house-smoked walnuts, sundried cherries and Mint Julep vinaigrette) and a Mint Julep sorbet shooter with chocolate tuile
Chateau Bourbon B&B — Mint Julep Cupcakes (available for pre-order by the dozen); also hosting “Fillies & Fun” (a Derby-themed ladies night) on Sunday, April 9, from 5-8 p.m.
Copper & Kings — Brandy Mint Julep (Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy, rum, Yellow Chartreuse, mint sprigs, water and powdered sugar)
Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse — Mint Julep Lemonade (Henry McKenna Single Barrel, simple syrup, lemon juice and mint)
Evan Williams Bourbon Experience — Offering Peach Julep samples every Thursday in April. Also, Evan Williams Mint Julep Mix and julep cups are for sale in the retail shop.
Haymarket Whiskey Bar — Tiki Julep (Elijah Craig, a house passion fruit base, Cointreau, lime and mint simple syrup)
Louisville Stoneware — Mint Julep cup featuring a hand-painted recipe
Louisville Visitors Center — Carries a variety of Mint Julep products, including soap, lip balm, wooden coasters, a decorative horseshoe, julep cups and a note card set
Marketplace Restaurant — Marketplace Blackberry Mint Julep (Maker’s Mark, blackberries, mint leaves, simple syrup and a splash of water) and Theater Square Mint Julep (Maker’s Mark, powdered sugar, water and mint leaves)
Merle’s Whiskey Kitchen — Classic Mint Julep featuring Maker’s Mark
Moss Hill Bath & Body Collection — Carries a variety of Mint Julep-scented bath and beauty products, including lotion, soap and candles
River House Restaurant/Levee — Mint Juliet (made with brown sugar and maple syrup)
Varanese — Strawberry-Jalapeno Mint Julep
Vint — Vint Julep (a latte featuring Bourbon Barrel Foods Smoked Sugar and Mint Julep Sugar and peppermint syrup)