National Mint Julep Day
National Mint Julep Day is observed next on Tuesday, May 30th, 2023 (178 days from today).
It is on May 30th every year to set up a refreshing toast to summer, called National Mint Julep Day.
Did you know 120,000 mints were sold during the Derby weekend in Louisville? Although this cocktail, traditionally served in a silver cup, has been associated with the Kentucky Derby for only about a century, it is truly a sophisticated, refreshing cocktail that can be enjoyed by anyone. Whether you've missed Derby Day or are still treating your betting wounds, you can celebrate National Mint Julep Day on May 30th - all you need is bourbon, sugar, mint and ice! So dust off your filth and let's make fun jokes!
History of National Mint Julep Day
Made with mint leaves, birch, sugar and water, and traditionally served with shaved ice in a silver or pewter cup, mint julep is a classic Southern drink. Mint is often slightly "bruised" to bring out its flavor in drinks, and mint is the mint of choice in the South. Mint julep has been the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1983, but it was instilled there long before that. While mint juleps may have been drunk earlier this month during that event, today we drink them again on National Mint Julep Day!
The root of julep mint lies with julab, an Arabic drink, made from rose petals and water. In the Mediterranean region, mint leaves replaced rose petals and julep mint was born. It was first mentioned in print in 1803, as "a minty spirit, drunk in the morning by the Virigians." According to legend, Henry Clay introduced the drink to Washington, D.C., in 1850 at the Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel, where it became famous and spread throughout the city. Bar claims his recipe is the one they use today. Senators are not the only politicians who enjoy the drink. Presidents Andrew Jackson and Theodore Roosevelt are both known to drink it. Roosevelt mixed his mints with rye whiskey instead of bourbon and enjoyed them with members of his cabinet after tennis matches.
Famous writers drank drops of mint and wrote them in their works. William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway have engaged in debates, and they are mentioned in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind, and Hunter S's "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved" Thompson. From the writings of great writers to the halls of political power, from the South to anywhere that loves a blend of mint and bourbon, mint aromas can be found. This is especially happening today, because it's National Mint Julep Day!
Some reasons for National Mint Julep Day being loved
- There's something about ritual
Like its winter-weather cousin, the Moscow mule, a mint mule derives its charm from the ritual used to create it. Additional but not too esoteric ingredients and special cups (copper for mule, silver for julep) make these drinks fancy. Sure, it's not as easy to open another beer as it is to open another, but it's not as difficult to make a variety of cocktails either. And the reward is well deserved.
- It's a local drink with a common appeal
Northerners, please take heart. You can also enjoy a julep. Although the drink originated under the Mason-Dixon Line, it is a scrumptious all-time-anywhere beverage when the mercury is high.
- It's purely American
Some theories suggest that julep is a variant of an ancient Arabic drink called julab, which features rose petals. Mint, and eventually bourbon, eventually made it an American liqueur. In fact, the earliest print mentioning menthol describes it as "a minty spirit, drunk in the morning by the people of Virginia." Sure, why not?
How to celebrate National Mint Julep Day
- Host a Kentucky Derby Costume Party
So you missed Run for the Roses? It is okay, you still have work to do. Tune in to your inner Southern bells and gentlemen to celebrate National Mint Juice Day. For the ladies, figure hats are a must-have – the bigger and more ostentatious the better (in fact, why not add to the “Best Hat” contest?). Keep your clothes simple - a pastel linen dress or spring suit will work. Stylish gentlemen should opt for a linen suit or seersucker, paired with a bow and maybe a felt hat or melon hat.
- Buck tradition with these variations
The classic mint julep is made with bourbon (or whiskey), sugar or simple syrup, mint, water, and shaved ice – but if that doesn't sound appealing, there are many unorthodox alternatives. How about a cherry, watermelon, peach or blackberry mint julep? You can make mint popsicles for portable refreshments or mint ice cubes that will turn any old Southern sweet tea into a cocktail.
- Taste some bourbon
Maybe mint isn't your thing, or maybe you just don't have the strength to crush all those stones. Do not worry. Let's say you're researching for next year's Derby Day and hosting a bourbon tasting. Find a well-stocked bar with a knowledgeable wait staff, or ask a friend to donate a bottle of their favorite, little-known bourbon to the effort.
ObservedNational Mint Julep Day has been observed annually on May 30th.
Sunday, May 30th, 2021
Monday, May 30th, 2022
Tuesday, May 30th, 2023
Thursday, May 30th, 2024
Friday, May 30th, 2025