It’s Derby Day! And I couldn’t be more excited! Ok, so I don’t have an actual vested interest in the Kentucky Derby, but every year my husband and I make it a point to tune in to this exciting event in sports and make a few good spirited bets with each other. This year the kids are getting in on the fun too. We helped each of them pick a horse (all our picks are posted on the fridge) and if anyone wins, they will get to pick a special prize on our next trip to the store.

I love events like this (any reason to celebrate!) and since this is the first year in 4 years that I’m not pregnant in the month of May, I am NOT letting the chance to sip on a mint julep pass me by. We are mixing up two versions of the derby staple- a classic Mint Julep for Kyle and a Strawberry Mint Julep for me. Both versions start with the same easy steps. Here’s how it’s done:


We made a quick simple syrup bringing ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of water to a boil after which we reduced to a simmer for about 3 minutes (until all the sugar is dissolved). Let this mixture cool completely before using. You only need about 2 tsp. of the simple syrup for each cocktail, but you can store the rest in the refrigerator for future use!

Strawberry Mint Julep:
-2 tsp. simple syrup
-crushed ice
-a handful of mint leaves
-about 3 large strawberries, quartered
-one 1 ½ oz. shot of your favorite bourbon (or a little more if you’re feeling lucky!)

Place the simple syrup in a glass. For this version, you’ll muddle the strawberries with the simple syrup until the strawberries look pureed. Throw in your mint leaves (6-8 should do the trick) and muddle again. Add the bourbon. Fill the glass about halfway with crushed ice and stir to combine. Garnish with a few more strawberries and a sprig of mint, sip and enjoy!

Classic Mint Julep:
-2 tsp. simple syrup
-crushed ice
-a handful of mint leaves
-one 1 ½ oz. shot of your favorite bourbon

Place the simple syrup in a glass. Throw in your mint leaves and muddle gently. Add the bourbon. Fill the glass about halfway with crushed ice and stir to combine. You could also throw everything into a shaker to make this version even quicker. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.

These are such a fun and festive hot weather drink that turn the day into a little special occasion. I love the pretty and feminine twist the strawberries add to this cocktail too. So tell me, have you ever gone to the Kentucky Derby? How are you celebrating this year? Let me know in the comments below!