10 Best Bourbons for Mint Julep Recipe (2023 Updated)

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Horses. Bourbon. Mint Julep. These three words are the best words associated with the Kentucky Derby. If you are missing out on this year’s Kentucky Derby, you should at least get the best bourbon for Mint Julep and have it around all year round!  

Top 10 Bourbons For Mint Julep Cocktails 

1. Four Roses Single Barrel

Four Roses Single Barrel

Four Roses Single Barrel is one of the top bourbons you can try if you plan to make your own milt julep cocktail. The single barrel is a high rye bourbon, so it has a rich flavor and little spiciness that works great as base liquor for Mint Julep cocktails. 

At 100 proof, Four Roses Single Barrel has notes of pear, chocolate, toffee, and oak. It incredibly goes well with the added sugar syrup, ice, and mint leaves. 

2. Knob Creek 100 Proof

Knob Creek 100 Proof

Knob Creek Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey has sweet oaky and nutty notes that get better when used as a base for classic cocktails. The 100-proof bourbon has subtle fruity sweetness and spice that will be a solid base spirit for a good Mint Julep cocktail. 

You don’t need an expensive bottle of bourbon to make Mint Juleps because the Knob Creek is both affordable and great tasting.

3. Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Larceny Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Larceny Kentucky bourbon by Heaven Hill Distillery is a wheated bourbon with 92 proof, and one of the best ways to enjoy it is by turning it into your own Mint Julep. The spice lead caramel, butterscotch, and honey of Larceny are everything you need for your cocktail drink. 

4. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength

If you are a bourbon lover, you surely know and love the rich taste of Maker’s Mark. The wheated bourbon has a strong flavor that you might want to try for your Mint Juleps. It has a strong flavor, but it does not overpower other flavors on your taste buds; plus, it can withstand ice melt.

5. Michter’s US-1 Limited Release Barrel Strength Bourbon

Michter’s US-1 Limited Release Barrel Strength

While Mitcher’s US-1 Limited Release Barrel Strength Bourbon is great to consume neat or on the rocks, it is a versatile spirit and can be a great base for your cocktail. It has rich flavors of candied fruits, vanilla, and oak notes that will add depth to the official drink of the derby. 

6. New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

New Riff

New Riff bourbon whiskey is the distillery’s core expression, and it is a savory and bold bourbon that mixes great in any cocktail. The vanilla notes and rich butterscotch match the sugar in the julep, and we recommend using more crushed ice for this cocktail. 

Unlike other whiskeys, it has a strong taste, but it tastes great for cocktails. 

7. Old Forester Signature 100 Proof

Old Forester Signature 100 Proof

Another delicious bourbon you can try for your Mint Julep is the Old Forester with 100 proof. George Garvin Brown pioneered the first bottle of whiskey, and it has a great flavor profile that may fit your personal preference for cocktails. 

In addition, the whiskey has unique flavors that you will need to create a good-tasting cocktail. It is strong and bold, but it comes with maple syrup, oak, and sweet apple notes that balance out the flavor. 

8. Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon

Old Grand-Dad Bonded Bourbon

Old Grand Bourbon is made from high rye mash bill, but it is considered one of the best bourbons because of its intensity. It is a medium-bodied bourbon at 100 proof, so there are many cocktail drinks you can try with Old Grand.

The cinnamon pops upfront the baking spices and dark fruit, but it tastes good when mixed with simple syrup, shaved ice, and fresh mint.

9. Wild Turkey 101

Wild Turkey 101

Next on the list of best bourbon for Mint Julep is the Wild Turkey 101. The bourbon has a lot of character that will surely spice up your cocktails. It has a high ABV, but it compliments well with the mint and sugar and does not dominate the minty flavors of the drink. 

In addition, it is one of the tastiest whiskey and the cheapest brand you can find on our list. It has a punch like Buffalo Trace, and it will put spring on your step even in just one sip. 

10. Woodford Reserve

Woodford Reserve

Last but not least is the Woodford Reserve, the signature bourbon used at the Kentucky Derby. It has a strong flavor profile with delicious caramel, toasted oak, complex citrus, and spice notes that mixes well with the cocktail drink without being overpowering.


Classic Mint Julep Cocktail Recipe 

Classic Mint Julep Cocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes


  • 2 ½ oz bourbon 
  • 4 to 5 mint sprigs (leaves only)
  • ½ oz simple syrup or 2 sugar cubes
  • Mint sprig for garnish
  • Crushed ice


In a julep cup, muddle mint with sugar or simple syrup until it the aroma and oil of the mint release. Add the bourbon to the muddled mint, fill the glass with crushed ice and stir well until it becomes frosty. Top the drink with mint sprigs, then serve it with a straw. 

Serving: 1


Aside from bourbon, what other spirit can you use in Mint Julep?

Aside from bourbon, you can use rum, sweet brandy, or cognac for a Mint Julep. Since bourbon is naturally sweet because of its corn content [1], it would be ideal to choose a slightly sweet spirit but with a kick. 

Can you use all bourbons for Mint Julep?

Yes, you can use all bourbons for Mint Julep, but you need a good Mint Julep to have a good bourbon. There are no restrictions on what bourbon to use for the cocktail drink. However, we highly recommend getting one from this list to surely taste the best. 

Bottoms Up! 

Not all bourbons are created equal, so if you want the best Mint Julep, you have to find the best bourbon for it. Good thing we managed to compile the best bourbon for a Mint Julep, so prepare your ice crusher and pewter cups to enjoy the refreshing cocktail. 

What’s your favorite bourbon to use for Mint Julep? Please share it with us! 



Lydia Martin

Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here or feel free to give Lydia a tip.

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