Smack that mint, crush that ice: Mint Julep Month starts now

April is Mint Julep Month. | Photo by Sara Havens

For six years now, the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau has deemed the month of April “Mint Julep Month.” Local retail outlets, bars and restaurants participate in the celebration and offer up specials inspired by the classic cocktail that is made with bourbon, simple syrup, crushed ice and mint.

The Mint Julep Mural was painted by Bryan Patrick Todd. | Courtesy of LCVB

This April is no different, and there are dozens of participating businesses and events offering up variations of the Mint Julep (see below).

The LCVB also has teamed up with Garden & Gun and Maker’s Mark to try to extend the mint momentum across the country. Two cities — New York City and Charleston, S.C. — have already signed up to host events.

But let’s address the pink elephant in the room. The Mint Julep was invented in the 1800s and is typically enjoyed during the Derby. It also is credited with spawning the invention of the straw — a tool many are championing against at the moment due to the increased plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans.

However, for the record, the first straw Marvin C. Stone patented in 1888 to help him properly drink the julep was made out of paper. It’s not really his fault — or the Mint Julep’s — that it evolved into plastic.

So to honor Stone’s invention and not further contribute to the plastic pollution, bars and restaurants along the Urban Bourbon Trail will be serving up juleps that use mint-colored biodegradable straws.

Raven Fuller and Dana Baldwin show off the special T-shirts now at the Visitor Center. | Courtesy of LCVB

Also of note, a mural has been painted by artist Bryan Patrick Todd on the side of Quills Coffee on Main Street to commemorate Mint Julep Month, and the local coffee shop will be serving up a Mint Julep Latte.

If you take a picture of the mural and tag it #mintjulepmonth, you’ll be entered in a contest hosted by the LCVB for weekly prizes.

And finally, a new Mint Condition T-shirt will be for sale at the Louisville Visitor Center and Fourth and Jefferson streets. And if you get six stamps on your Urban Bourbon Trail Passport, you’ll get a special Mint Julep pin as well as a T-shirt.

Here’s a list of other specials around town (courtesy of the LCVB):


Bars & Restaurants

  • 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen – Guests can enjoy their meal with a Peach & Basil Mint Julep followed by Mint Julep Cake Pops for dessert.
  • Butchertown Grocery – A boozy Mint Julep Sundae will be made with three ice cream flavors including caramel, mint and Woodford Reserve bourbon, all crafted in-house. It also features bourbon-soaked chocolate fudge cake, strawberry compote, bourbon-candied pecans, fresh mint and Woodford Reserve cherries from local Bourbon Barrel Foods.
  • Anoosh Bistro – The Shrimp Julep will feature grilled shrimp served hot with a sauce including bourbon, fresh mint, maple syrup and lemon.
  • The Brown Hotel – Try Mint Julep Benedictine with a side of pita bread or a pulled lamb shoulder sandwich with bourbon barbecue sauce with minted slaw at the J. Graham Café.
  • Doc Crow’s Southern Smokehouse and Raw Bar – The Mint Julep Lemonade adds a splash of tangy and refreshing lemon to the traditional simple syrup, bourbon and mint recipe. Or, try a Near Eastern Julep that uses basil instead of mint and ginger syrup, combined with Old Grand Dad Bottled-in-Bond and Becherovka liqueur to add a warm, spicy clove flavor.
  • Marketplace – Its Mint Julep contains Monin Frosted Mint and simple syrups, with Cardamom bitters. Then, just add the bourbon.
  • Mussel & Burger Bar – The Mint Julep is the featured cocktail of the month.
  • Red Herring – Three mint julep variations:
    • Traditional Julep: Mint-soaked brandy, rum and sugar, strained mint and a lemon zest
    • Non-Traditional Julep: bacon fat-infused bourbon, mint and vanilla sugar
    • Modern Twist Julep: Fernet Branca and bourbon