Learning The Southern History Behind The Mint Julep

May 3, 2019

This weekend, it's all about the hats, the horses and the bourbon.

On Saturday, the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Lousville will take place.

Whether you'll be at the race itself or here in Atlanta watching on TV, many people will be sipping on a mint julep.

Not only has the mint julep been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century, but it is also rooted deeply in Southern culture.

GPB's Leah Fleming traveled to Parlor, a pre-prohibition style cocktail lounge in Atlanta, to meet with independent bartender Tiffanie Barriere and learn some history about the mint julep.



Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe
  • 3 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
  • 0.75 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 8-10 mint leaves
  • 3 mint sprigs, far garnish


  1. Pack mint julep cup with crushed ice.
  2. In a mixing glass, combine bourbon, syrup, and mint leaves.
  3. Lightly bruise mint leaves with a muddler, strain contents into julep cup.
  4. Garnish with 3 generous sprigs of mint.
  5. *Make sure to slap mint and insert straw into ice near mint.

Tiffanie spoke more about the black connection to bartending and alcohol in the Bitter Southerner Podcast, hosted by Chuck Reece: