Behold the mint julep, a simple cocktail cobbled together using bourbon, mint, sugar and ice. And April just so happens to be Mint Julep Month here in Louisville.
Now, we know many of you turn your nose up at the delicious drink because maybe you’ve had a bad experience with a poorly made one at the track or consider it alcoholic toothpaste, but we — along with those in the Louisville Tourism offices who are behind the initiative — believe every Louisvillian (of age, and who imbibes from time to time) should give it another try.
And take our advice: Don’t wait until you’re at Churchill Downs to order one. Next time you’re out and about at one of the 44 stops on the Urban Bourbon Trail, ask them to make you one — if they have fresh mint on hand.
The good news is that because April is Mint Julep Month, many of these bars will keep mint on hand just for this occasion, so the chances of you getting a decent julep are right up there with the chances of rain on Derby Day.
If you’d like some suggestions, how about Proof on Main, Bourbons Bistro, 8UP, Garage Bar, Harvest, Sidebar and Doc Crow’s, to name a few.
So what else is going on for Mint Julep Month? Well, one highlight is you can score a free engraved julep cup from the Louisville Visitor Center by taking a selfie with a mint julep — or those mint julep statues scattered around the city — and post it using the hashtag #MintJulepMonth on social media.
After you do that, just stop by the center at 301 S. Fourth St. and show them the proof. You have to be at least 21 years old, and supplies are limited.
Here’s a few more festivities during the month, courtesy of Louisville Tourism:
- Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport will feature a wall of greenery constructed entirely of more than 800 fresh mint plants (8-foot tall, 10-feet wide and designed by local florist Jaclyn Journey) that will be on display in the airport’s airside rotunda (near Starbucks where concourses A & B converge). The Instagram-worthy wall debuts on April 1 and will remain up through Derby weekend.
- Businesses across the city, including many on the Urban Bourbon Trail, will offer mint julep drink and culinary specials. Local retail shops will also feature julep-themed products.
- The Louisville Bats are rebranding as the Derby City Mint Juleps for two home games on April 13 and 27 at Louisville Slugger Field. The team will wear custom caps and jerseys. Mint juleps served in commemorative cups will be sold at both games.
- The Louisville Visitor Center is hosting a free mint julep-themed event on Friday, April 12, from 6-8 p.m. Highlights include mint julep drink and food tastings from several restaurants and bars on Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail.
- Take a selfie at the Mint Julep Mural in downtown Louisville, located on the Quills Coffee Firehouse.
Sip slowly and enjoy.