The Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. I put a twist on the classic drink of the Kentucky Derby by adding blueberries and smoke. The approach to this smoked cocktail is a bit different than our normal smoked cocktails. Keep on reading to find out how you can make this classic cocktail worthy of a 1st place prize!
Do you watch it every year? Growing up, my family used to all pick a horse from the newspaper and gather around my grandparents’ television to watch our horse hopefully cross the finish line first! It was always a special occasion and fond memories were made!
Now, as an adult, I still keep the tradition alive in memory of my grandfather. This year, I’ll cheers him with a Smoked Blueberry Mint Julep!
The Mint Julep’s History
The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, which is one of the most famous horse racing events in the world. The tradition of serving these cocktails at the Kentucky Derby dates back to the early days of the event, which began in 1875.
One theory about why it became the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby is that it was a popular beverage in the southern United States during the 19th century. The Kentucky Derby is also held during the spring, which is when mint is in season in Kentucky. As a result, it is likely that the combination of regional popularity and seasonal availability made the mint julep a natural choice for the event.
Another theory is that the mint julep was seen as a sophisticated and elegant drink that was well-suited to the refined atmosphere of the Kentucky Derby. The event has always been associated with high society, and the mint julep’s reputation as a classic cocktail may have contributed to its association with the Derby.
Regardless of the specific reasons why the mint julep became the drink of the Kentucky Derby, it has remained a beloved tradition for over a century. Today, the Kentucky Derby serves over 120,000 mint juleps each year, making it one of the largest-scale events for the cocktail. The drink has become an iconic symbol of the event, and for many people, sipping on a mint julep is an essential part of the Kentucky Derby experience.
Let’s Twist the Julep
A smoked blueberry mint julep is a delicious and unique twist on the classic cocktail. This refreshing beverage is perfect for summertime sipping, as it combines the sweetness of blueberries with the coolness of mint and the smokiness of wood chips. We used our Bourbon Barrel Smoke Dust to highlight the flavor of the bourbon!
The blueberries used in a smoked blueberry mint julep add a fruity and slightly tart flavor to the drink. They also provide a beautiful deep purple color that makes the cocktail visually stunning. Mint is a traditional ingredient in juleps and adds a fresh, crisp note to the beverage. When combined with blueberries, it creates a sweet and herbaceous taste that is perfect for a warm afternoon.
Smoked Blueberry Mint Julep
- 1 pot for making simple syrup
- 1 sealable jar or container
- 1 Cocktail Muddler
- 1 bag & mallet to crush ice!
- 1 Smokeshow Cocktail Smoker
- 1 Butane Torch
- 1 julep cup
Blueberry & Mint Simple Syrup
- 1 cup muddled blueberries
- 5-6 mint leaves
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1 oz blueberry & mint simple syrup
- 3-4 muddled mint leaves
- Crushed Ice Enough to fill cup to the top
Garnish & Smoke
- 1 pinch Bourbon Barrel Smoke Dust
- 1 mint leaf sprig
- 2-3 whole blueberries
Blueberry & Mint Simple Syrup
- Add all igredients to a pot over medium-high hear. As ingredients simmer, muddle the blueberries to infuse flavor into the syrup. Let cool and transfet into a sealable contaienr.1 cup muddled blueberries, 5-6 mint leaves, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water
- Smoke bourbon in a separate glass. Leave smoker on to let the smoke percolate and infuse.2 oz bourbon, 1 pinch Bourbon Barrel Smoke Dust
- Muddle mint leaves in the bottom of the julep glass. Pour in simple syrup (leave a small bit behind to save for last step!)1 oz blueberry & mint simple syrup, 3-4 muddled mint leaves
- Smoke the simple syrup inside of the cup. Remove, add the previously smoked bourbon, stir.
- Crush ice, add to glass, and sir again.Crushed Ice
- Drizzle remaining simple syrup on top of ice and garnish!1 mint leaf sprig, 2-3 whole blueberries