The list of cocktails popularized in the South is a distinguished one—the Sazerac, the Vieux Carré, the old-fashioned, the Ramos Gin Fizz among them—but no regional drink is more beloved than the mint julep. “It is the very dream of drinks,” wrote Joshua Soule Smith in the Lexington Herald in an 1890s ode to the swirl of crushed ice, mint, simple syrup, and bourbon. Today the signature sipper is consumed by the hundred thousands at the Kentucky Derby, where it became the official race-day drink in 1938. But this year, don’t wait for May 5 to roll around to indulge. Celebrate Mint Julep Month from April 4 to May 4 with Garden & Gun.
For the monthlong mint julep celebration, started in Louisville in 2013, Garden & Gun has teamed up with more than 150 bars and restaurants around the country to honor the historic cocktail with drink specials and events. Throughout the campaign, bartenders are challenged to use biodegradable straws rather than plastic ones, which contribute significantly to ocean pollution. Search MintJulepMonth.com by state to locate a participating bar near you. In addition, Garden & Gun has tapped four of the South’s top bartenders—Kellie Thorn (Atlanta), Matt Lofink (New Orleans), Ryan Casey (Charleston, South Carolina), and Stacie Stewart (Louisville)—to share make-at-home twists on the classic (recipes below). Get your mint sprigs ready.
Cocktail #1: A Study in Pink
Strawberries, raspberries, and a little extra mint brighten up this summertime sipper.
Cocktail #2 Sallie Gardner
A bold cross between a traditional mint julep and a Black Manhattan.
Cocktail #3 Nature’s Sweet Restorer
The classic julep gets an herbal citrus twist.
Cocktail #4 The Fourth Turn
This light bubbly take on the julep is the perfect Derby weekend closer.
The Fourth Turn
This light bubbly take on the julep is the perfect Derby weekend closer
A bold cross between a traditional mint julep and a Black Manhattan
A Study in Pink
Strawberries, raspberries, and a little extra mint brighten up this summertime sipper
Food & Drink
Forgotten Southern Recipes
From pear salad and tomato pudding to vinegar pie and bacon crackers, we’re more than ready for these old-school classics to make a comeback
Arts & Culture
Party Like a Vanderbilt
A new exhibition at the Biltmore in Asheville shows Southern hospitality at its finest
Food & Drink