We can all agree that the Kentucky Derby just wouldn’t be the Kentucky Derby without a few sips of a Mint Julep, the quintessential cocktail of the South. This bourbon-based cocktail is traditionally made with four ingredients—mint leaf, bourbon, simple syrup, and crushed ice—and makes for the perfect boozy refreshment on a hot summer day.

The origins of the Mint Julep are murky, but the word Julep is derived from the Spanish “julepe”, meaning rosewater. It’s hard to believe but it was originally prescribed as a treatment for stomach upset. It’s no surprise that a Kentucky Senator first introduced the drink to the nation: U.S. Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky showcased the mint julep at the celebrated Round Robin Bar in the historic Willard Hotel.

While every summer day is a good day for a mint julep, celebrate National Mint Julep Day (May 30) with a new take on everyone’s favorite cocktail.

Tully Smash 

The Mint Julep takes an Irish spin with a refreshing recipe created by Tullamore Ambassador Tim Herlihy. Triple-distilled whiskey adds gentle complexity.

  • 2 parts Tullamore D.E.W. Original
  • 0.5 parts fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75 parts rich Demerara syrup
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • 3 brandied cherries

Add Tullamore D.E.W., lemon juice and syrup to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain over a glass filled with fresh pebble ice. Garnish with lemon wedges, mint leaves, and cherries.

Blackberry Mint Julep Margarita 

Give a complete shake-up to the classic julep with tequila. National Milagro Ambassador Jaime Salas created this delicious twist on a Mint Julep.

  • 2 parts Milagro Anejo
  • 1 parts lime juice
  • 1 parts honey syrup
  • 5 blackberries each
  • 6 mint leaves

Muddle berries and mint. Add rest, shake and strain over ice in julep glass. Garnish with blackberries and mint sprig.

Mock Mint Julep a la Disney

Everyone loves the mock Mint Juleps that can be found in New Orleans Square at Disneyland. Here’s a copycat take on this refreshing park favorite.

  • 6 mint leaves
  • 5 cups club soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of five limes
  • 5 cups ginger ale
  • green food coloring
  • Mint leaves, lime wedge and maraschino cherry, for garnish

In a large bowl, muddle the mint leaves. Then add the club soda, sugar and lime juice. Let stand for at least 1 hour. Strain and discard mint. Place ice cubes in two pitchers; add half of the lime/club soda/sugar mixture and ginger ale to each. Add a few drops of green food coloring to each. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, lime, and mint.