Chocolate Mint Julep

Chocolate Mint Julep

Chocolate Mint Julep- the Perfect Derby Day Drink!

Do you know what Saturday is?  Why, it’s Kentucky Derby Day, of course!  It’s time for the fellas to put on their linen suits and pastel shirts, and ladies, get out your sun-dresses and big hats.  If you’re one of the select few lazing away your day at Churchill Downs while you wait for the horses to whiz by, you’ll probably be paying someone else for your mint juleps and Derby pie.  If, however, you’ll be watching the race from home, or at a Derby party, you might need to make that julep yourself!  This recipe for Chocolate Mint Julep will be the perfect addition to your Derby Day.

In a hurry? Jump to the recipe! 

Chocolate Mint Julep

Chocolate Mint Julep

Traditionally, a mint julep is made with spearmint, bourbon, simple syrup, and crushed ice, all mixed together into a glass of cool deliciousness.  For this version, I used chocolate mint instead of spearmint.  If you’ve never had chocolate mint, it’s a lot like regular mint, but about a thousand times more awesome.  It looks a lot like regular mint, but basically tastes like you’re eating one of those candy chocolate peppermint patties.  In short, it’s the best.  I haven’t seen this mint at a normal supermarket, but the Kentucky Derby just happens to coincide with the beginning of planting season here in Appalachia, and these little mint plants are all over the place.  I’ve seen these plants everywhere I’ve looked for herbs (specifically at Lowe’s and Home Depot), and I just couldn’t resist planting my own this year.*  You can, of course, follow this recipe to make a traditional mint julep by using spearmint instead of chocolate mint.  Chocolate mint tends to have smaller leaves, so for this cocktail I use 8-10 mint leaves per glass instead of the 5-6 you’d use for a traditional julep.

To make your julep, start by making a simple syrup (or just buy pre-made syrup).  You’ll only need about 1 tsp of syrup for your drink, but it’s easier to make a batch of the syrup and keep the rest for later.  Using a 1 to 1 ratio (example: 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar), pour sugar and water together, bring to a boil, and set aside to cool.  You can use any leftover syrup to sweeten whatever you like– iced tea, coffee etc.  Next, take mint leaves and muddle them with 1 teaspoon of the syrup in the bottom of a chilled old-fashioned cocktail glass (or a mint julep cup if you’re fancy).  Technically you should use a “muddler,” but you can also muddle your leaves with the end of a wooden spoon or the pestle from a small mortar and pestle.  You just need to mush them around to release the mint oil.  Add crushed ice all the way to the top of the glass (if you don’t have a refrigerator that comes with an ice crusher- just stick some ice cubes in your blender).  Pour 4 ounces of bourbon over the ice, and stir a few times.  Garnish your drink with a few more mint leaves, and enjoy the race!

Note: Any kind of mint will grow well.. pretty much anywhere you put it.  Keep in mind that mint doesn’t share well with others- it’ll strangle out your other herbs, so it needs a pot of its own.  If you plant it in your yard, be prepared for it to take over the grass, so plant with care.


Chocolate Mint Julep
5 from 3 votes

Chocolate Mint Julep

Yields 1 cocktail

Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 person
Calories 188 kcal
Author Champagne Tastes


Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar

Chocolate Mint Julep:

  • 8-10 chocolate mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • crushed ice


  1. Make simple syrup: In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar until sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool. Use 1 tsp per mint julep cocktail.

  2. Chill an old-fashioned cocktail glass (or mint julep cup). Muddle mint leaves and simple syrup until mint leaves look softened and smell very fragrant. Fill glass with crushed ice, then pour bourbon over ice. Stir once or twice, top with more mint, and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

*Calorie Information was calculated per serving using My Fitness Pal. 


20 thoughts on “Chocolate Mint Julep

    • champagne-tastes says:

      I haven’t been in person, just watched it on TV! It’s $$$ to get in. But it’s a great reason to have a party!

  1. Megan @ Meg is Well says:

    I can’t believe I didn’t know about chocolate mint leaves! My mind is blown right now. I’ve always wanted to have an excuse to wear a ridiculous hat, which is pretty much the only reason I would ever want to go to the Kentucky Derby. Of course drinks like this would also be an incentive.

    • champagne-tastes says:

      I know right! A friend always has them in her garden, and this year I had to have my own. They’re AMAZING. And yes I don’t really care as much about the horses racing as I do the big hats haha

  2. Mackenzie says:

    I love Chocolate mint! I discovered it back in Junior High when I first started experimenting with the culinary world – but like you said – it quickly devours everything around it, and I learned that lesson the hard way! It is so brilliant to use it in this drink – all the flavor, none of the calories 😉

  3. Kylee from Kylee Cooks says:

    This sounds like my kind of drink. I love the freshness of mint in cocktails. I have never seen chocolate mint leaves, and wonder if they’re even available here in Arizona. Might have to just grow some!

    I’ll do anything for a good cocktail, clearly!

    • champagne-tastes says:

      Oh I’m not sure! But mint is pretty easy to grow.. Check out a garden center, I’d be surprised if they don’t have it!!

  4. Lisa | Garlic + Zest says:

    I’ve never heard of chocolate mint plants before — and if I’d already had a few of these Julep’s, I’d think you were making it up. I’ll be on the lookout for them at our garden center

    • champagne-tastes says:

      I know right! Mint grows like crazy and I’m always trying to figure out new ways to use it! Haha yes- wear your big hat and drink your mint julep. Who cares about the horses!!?? Lol

  5. Suchi @elegantmeraki says:

    Oh I am lucky I just got some chocolate mint from my Mom’s garden. She has all kinds about 7 different mints!! I also dont care much about the race itself but hats, mint julep and pie what’s wrong with that huh? This drink looks amazing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *