If you have ever been to the Kentucky Derby or had an interest in the deep South of America, then you can be sure that you have come across the very tasty mint julep.
This is something to be enjoyed on a hot summer’s day, known for its potency and freshness.
But one of the key ingredients for a mint julep is bourbon. This light and vanilla-like whiskey are what makes this drink so tasty.
It will not overpower your palate like a malt whiskey, rather infusing the whole drink with a lot of taste and making it much easier to drink.
You’ll need to make sure that you have plenty of crushed ice with this drink, along with some pewter cups that will really keep the drink nice and cold for longer.
We would also recommend that you pick up some fresh mint that you can put on the top of the drink to really give it that added freshness.
So where can you find the best bourbon for your mint julep? What features does a good bourbon have that a bad bourbon doesn’t have?
How can you get your bourbon for the best price?
Well, if you want the answer to these questions and a lot more, we would recommend that you keep reading. We have the lowdown on some of the best bourbons that you can find on the market.
All you have to do is add these to your minty and icy drink and you will have a rich flavor that you will not forget.
The 7 Best Bourbons For A Mint Julep
Four Roses Bourbon
This first bourbon comes with a very high rye content, which luckily results in a lot of flavor in your cocktail.
If you prefer your julep to have more bourbon than mint, then we would certainly suggest that you try this one.
This is 100 percent proof and will pack a punch on your tastebuds straight away – introducing Four Roses Bourbon.
This comes with a maple taste that will give your final julep that added sweet punch.
If you want to offset the freshness of the mint with an almost honey flavor, then you can’t go wrong with this bourbon.
It comes at a decent price, so if you are looking to lower the overall cost of your drinks cabinet, then we would recommend Four Roses.
- One of the sweetest drinks, you can be sure that you will have everything that you need for a tasty drink that won’t be too abrasive on your tongue.
- This has an oaky aftertaste that you can be sure will give you those earthy tones. We would recommend that you have this one in a pewter cup to accentuate this flavor.
- You can add more sugar and syrup to this drink to really boost that flavor. This is one of the best drinks that you can have for a spring soiree.
- This is quite cheap, so you can have all the flavor of a refined whiskey without having to break the bank.
- There is not much volume in this whiskey, so if you want something that lasts you for longer, then you might have to buy two or pick another brand.
Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon Whiskey
Next up, we have one of the more popular bourbon whiskies, coming with a fruity flavor that you can be sure will add that pe to any cocktail.
When we tried this drink we found that it really mixed well with the other ingredients in the julep, offsetting the strong mint so that it didn’t overwhelm the taste buds – introducing Knob Creek Smoked Maple Bourbon Whiskey.
Once you have prepared your mint julep, we would recommend that you let the ice melt a little, as this will really allow the flavors to settle into the rest of the drink.
His bourbon gets better the longer you wait to drink it, so we would recommend that you wait for a few minutes before taking that luxurious first sip.
- This whiskey has everything that you need for a great flavor. It is rich with a hint of sweetness that will certainly complement the mint in your drink.
- We would recommend this for anyone who wants a much smoother cocktail, as Knob Creek is a lot easier on the palate than other brands of bourbon.
- This is 100 percent proof whiskey, so if you want that cheeky hit of alcohol when you are drinking, then you should try this brand.
- This comes with nutty and sweet overtones, so if you prefer an earthy tang to your julep, then Knob Creek is for you.
- This drink might not have the signature taste of bourbon whiskey, so if you want to keep the final mix traditional, we would recommend another brand.
Wild Turkey 101
Next up, we have a drink that comes with a lot of character, so you won’t have to worry about having it to spice up your mint julep.
This is one of the most famous drinks that you can get on the market for the price.
It comes with a vanilla and oak tinge that you can be sure will brighten up your palate – introducing Wild Turkey (see also: Wild Turkey Longbranch Review)101.
Wild Turkey is what could be described as a classic bourbon flavor, coming with plenty of punch that you can be sure will put a spring in your step even after just one sip.
This comes with an earthy set of flavors that will really dampen down the flavors of the mint and sugar in your julep.
- This is one of the more standard flavors, so if you want to make a julep the old-fashioned way, then we would recommend this brand.
- This comes with high alcohol content, so if you wanted a little buzz with your drink, then we would definitely point you to this one.
- This is one of the tastiest whiskeys that you can get on this list, coming with string flavors that will really dominate the minty flavors.
- This is one of the cheapest brands that you can find on this list, perfect for various styles of cocktails.
- This might be a little too dull for someone who wants to try something a little different with their mint julep.
Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey
- Barley malt, butterscotch and vanilla bean tones
- Medium finish hints of gentle caramel and dry oak spice
- Excellent everyday bourbon and great in cocktails
Next up, we have a whiskey that really captures all the flavor of the barrel, giving you everything that you need for a very dominant flavor palate.
This is one for those people who do not like messing around when it comes to flavor.
This is that classic bourbon flavor with an added touch of dark fruits – introducing Maker’s Mark Bourbon Whiskey.
This is one of the strongest bourbons on this list, but don’t worry, you can be sure that the ice and the mint will help you dilute some of the stronger flavors inherent in the whiskey itself.
This one is really powerful and comes in a stylish bottle that will definitely be a talking point for anyone looking through your drinks cabinet.
- This comes with molasses and a tinge of dark fruit flavor, so if you want to add some sweetness to your mint, then this is the drink for you.
- This is a great one to have for your juleps, coming with a bold flavor palate that you can be sure will raise this drink up beyond the level of others.
- If you want that conventional julep flavor, then we would certainly recommend that you check out some Maker’s Mark.
- Strong with a smoky aftertaste, we would suggest this to anyone who is looking to augment their usual julep recipe with something a little different.
- This might not be that appealing to anyone who likes less sweetness in their mint julep. This has a hint of dark fruits, so be warned if you dislike sweetness.
Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Next up, we have a whiskey that you can be sure will be seen gracing the Kentucky Derby year in year out. This is a great one for the traditionalists, giving you everything that you need for that rich and vanillery mint julep flavor.
This remains a popular favorite with cocktail drinkers – introducing the Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
This whiskey is crafted by some of the master bourbon makers, so you can be sure that you’re in safe hands when it comes to a sumptuous and flavorful palate.
If you are looking forward to a cold and refreshing drink with that little zing at the end, then we would certainly recommend that you take some Woodford Reserve in your cooler.
- This comes in one of the finest-looking bottles that we’ve seen. It was easy to open and even easier to mix in with our other julep ingredients.
- This is made from a wide variety of different ingredients, some of which include mint itself. So if you want extra mint in your mint julep then grab a bottle of this!
- This is crafted by some of the best distillers that you can get on the market, we would certainly recommend this if you consider yourself a bourbon connoisseur.
- This bottle is actually remarkably cheap considering the quality. If you want to treat yourself to a nice julep while being kind to your wallet, then this is a great brand to get.
- This might be a little too overpowering in weaker juleps, as the flavor of the whiskey will overpower the mint.
Old Forester 100 Proof Signature Bourbon
This next whiskey comes with a blend of very unique flavors, giving you everything you need for a whopping flavor that will be different from any other mint julep that you’ve ever tasted before in your life.
This is 60 percent proof and is one of the official drinks of the Kentucky Derby – introducing the Old Forester (see also: Old Forester 1920 Review)100 Proof Signature Bourbon.
This is one of the strongest, most potent, and most traditional whiskeys that you can pick up on the market. This comes with oak, sweet apple and maple syrup flavorings, all of which add up to a very bold and sweet flavor palate.
You can be sure that you’ll have everything that you need for a solid mint julep.
- This comes with a range of flavors, whether it is coffee, apple or oak, the mix of which will certainly raise some eyebrows when you drink them.
- This even has chocolate notes in it, so if you like your julep sweet, then you can’t really go wrong with this one.
- This is 100 percent proof, which makes it one of the strongest drinks that you can get on the market.
- This comes in a handy bottle that you can pour out quickly and easily, giving you everything that you need for a decent punch.
- The price – this is a tad more expensive than some of the other brands, although if you know where to shop then you might get a bottle for a few dollars less.
Very Old Barton 90
Finally, we finish off with an award-winning bourbon that comes in one of the snazziest bottles that we’ve ever seen.
This is great if you want to add a dash of sophistication to your mint julep-making process. We all know that mixing cocktails isn’t all about the flavor, appearances matter too! – Introducing Very Old Barton 90.
This whiskey comes with plenty of flavors, giving you a decent reason to add it to your julep. It comes with a much more earthy flavor than some of the other brands on this list, coming with zero overtones of fruit.
This is definitely one for anyone who wants to preserve the old ways of making a decent julep.
- This comes with spice and caramel notes, making it one of the most sumptuous and elegant of the bourbons.
- This also comes with plenty of oak and vanilla, making it a smooth blend that won’t feel too harsh, especially when you water it down.
- This is one of the nicest tasting bourbons that we’ve tested, it went very well with our sprig of fresh mint.
- This whiskey is another very expensive one, so make sure that you have a few dollars spare if you are going to get this one for your Kentucky Derby party.
When you are looking for a bourbon for your mint julep, there will be a few qualities that you’ll want to be thinking about.
Not only will you want a strong and dynamic flavor, but you’ll want a little touch of fruit or caramel to compliment the mint and sugar. Here are a few things you’ll be looking for:
What Is The Alcohol Percentage?
The stronger the proof, then the stronger the shot of bourbon that you’ll be having in your drink. If you do not want the bourbon to overpower the flavor of the drink, then we would suggest that you opt for a lower proof.
Does It Have Additional Flavors?
One of the main plus points of there being so many varieties of whiskey is that each one comes with its own unique flavor.
Whether it be dark fruits or caramel, you’ll always get something slightly different from each whiskey that you’re sampling.
You’ll also need to think about how well the flavors will compliment the mint and the sugar that you are adding to your julep.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Bourbon For A Mint Julep?
Well, we would suggest that you have a bourbon that is around 70 percent proof with an added touch of sweetness that will complement the mint that you’ve added.
However, this will all depend on your personal preference, as some people like a really strong-tasting julep that has plenty of booze.
Do Cheaper Bourbons Taste Worse?
No, not necessarily, you can get plenty of competitively-priced whiskeys that come with a lot of the unique flavors that you can get with the more expensive brands.
We would recommend that you check the manufacturer’s ingredients to see what flavors that you might get when you are drinking your bourbon.
Remember also to get a bourbon strong enough to offset the mint.