As South Africa is now firmly in the grasp of summer, today’s cocktail recipe is a lovely, fresh and summery drink.

Juleps are sweet drinks traditionally used to mask medicines. The Mint Julep is of North American origin, and has been around for centuries. A book published in London in 1803 describes it as a “dram of spiritous liquor that has mint steeped in it, taken by Virginians of a morning”.

Today it’s a firm favourite at the Kentucky Derby where over 80,000 are served over the 2 day event.


4-5 fresh mint sprigs
3 shots of bourbon whiskey
1 tsp sugar (or 2 sugar cubes)
2 tsp water
1 1/2 cups of crushed ice

Muddle the mint leaves, sugar and water in a tall glass (or traditional silver julep cup) until the sugar dissolves. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice (not cubes!) and add the bourbon. Wait until the glass frosts, then stir gently. Garnish with a sprig of mint. Sip slowly.

Using a short straw will bring the minty taste straight to your taste buds.

But be careful when mixing this drink to get the balance right. It should not be over-sweet and most certainly should not taste like mouth wash. Some rigorous experimenting may be required …