Throwing A Derby Party? Learn How To Make Mint Juleps With These 7 GIFs

05/02/2014 03:02 pm ET | Updated May 02, 2014
Joe Satran/The Huffington Post

This weekend's the Kentucky Derby. That means there's one thing you should be drinking all weekend: mint juleps. Frosty, refreshing, strong mint juleps.

But unless you're going down to Kentucky in person, you have to be careful. There are many ways for mint juleps to go wrong: they can be made with a powdered mix, for example, or in a blender. Neither of these things were invented in the same century -- the 19th -- as the mint julep, so you don't want them anywhere near your drink.

Instead, you want a traditional mint julep. They look intimidating to make -- but they're actually not hard at all, providing you have a muddler and a mint julep glass. Here's a step-by-step GIF guide to making your own this weekend.

  • 1 Crush some ice
    Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
  • Unless you have ready access to a mechanical ice crusher, you're going to have to do this by hand. Put a bunch of normal ice in a Ziploc bag, then mash it with a blunt object (like a hammer or a muddler) until each piece is smaller than a cranberry. Do not skip this step and use normal ice; your drink will not be a julep.
  • 2 Put half an ounce of simple syrup in the bottom of a julep glass, then add about eight mint leaves
    Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
  • Theoretically, you could use a regular glass, I guess. If you wanted to disrespect decades of history and lose out on the cool frosted effect of a metal cup.
  • 3 Muddle the mint and the simple syrup
    Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
  • The best implement for this task is a muddler like the one I'm holding here. Lacking that, you could get away with using something like the bottom of an ice cream scoop or cutting knife. No matter what, though, you don't want to over-muddle; just smash the mint until it releases a bit of flavor.
  • 4 Add 2.5 ounces of bourbon
    Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
  • The vast majority of this drink is bourbon, so quality will be perceivable. You don't want anything too sharp, bitter or spicy; you're looking for a bourbon that has nice sweetness but also enough character and alcohol to stand up to a bunch of ice. I went with Larceny, a mid-shelf, 92-proof bourbon with a bit of wheat.
  • 5 Add some of the crushed ice and stir well
    Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
  • This is the only real mixing period of the whole process, so make sure you stir well. If you have a fancy swizzle stick or cocktail straw that you can swizzle with (and you know what "swizzling" is), go for it.
  • 6 Top with more crushed ice
    Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
  • You want to mound the cup nice and high with extra ice -- like a Sno-Cone!
  • 7 Garnish with a sprig of mint
    Joe Satran/The Huffington Post
  • This doesn't really do anything to the flavor, but it's highly traditional.

Et voila!

how to make mint juleps

Given all that crushed ice, you really need a straw -- like a julep straw! -- to drink this quickly. But in the end, this is a sipping cocktail; if you suck them down fast, you're bound to fall asleep before the horses cross the finish line.

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