Mint Juleps for a Crowd

Mix up a big batch of this classic bourbon cocktail to feed a derby day crowd.

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The mint julep is a derby day classic, crafted from that quintessential Southern spirit, bourbon and graced with the garden goodness of mint. What better authority that a Louisville-based bartender, Susie Hoyt, to offer tips on crafting a truly memorable mint julep?  A veteran of Chicago’s venerable cocktail destination the Violet Hour, Hoyt now crafts her tipples at Louisville, Kentucky’s The Pearl and the Silver Dollar.

Mint Julep

Mint Julep

Photo by: Four Roses Distillery

Four Roses Distillery

I personally love to serve curated cocktails for parties, but unless you have a dedicated bartender on hand, you can spend the whole night mixing up drinks for each guest.

So I thought a big batch of mint juleps would be the perfect way to enjoy this horse-racing cocktail while allowing guests to serve themselves. Hoyt shares her recipe for a 64 ounce pitcher of juleps, which should be just enough to get the party started.

Bartender Susie Hoyt

Bartender Susie Hoyt

Mixologist Susie Hoyt works at Louisville, Kentucky's the Pearl and the Silver Dollar.

Photo by: Four Roses Distillery

Four Roses Distillery

Mixologist Susie Hoyt works at Louisville, Kentucky's the Pearl and the Silver Dollar.

Susie Hoyt’s Big Batch Mint Juleps


  • standard 64 ounce pitcher 
  • a wooden or plastic spoon that is a little taller than your pitcher
  • a small pot and stove to cook the syrup


  • One 750 ml bottle of Four Roses Yellow Label, Four Roses Small Batch, or Four Roses Single Barrel
  • 3.5-4 ounces Demerara or turbinado syrup (see recipe below)*
  • 40 mint leaves 
  • 12 large sprigs of mint for garnish

You can build this cocktail in the pitcher. 

Pour your 750 ml bottle of Four Roses into the pitcher.  Add 3.5 ounces of Demerara or turbinado syrup to the pitcher. 

Mix syrup and bourbon thoroughly.  Slap the mint leaves by placing approximately 10 at a time in your hands and clapping once lightly. 

Deposit the leaves into the pitcher and stir gently to insure that you are not tearing the leaves apart. Doing so will release chlorophyll into your cocktail and impart a strong grassy flavor that you want to avoid. 

Allow the mint leaves to steep for 5-8 minutes before removing with your spoon.  You can also leave them in for appearance, but beware of the potential for grassy flavor. 

Add ice 10 minutes before serving and stir thoroughly.  Garnish each serving with a mint sprig.

*Demerara Syrup 

Mix 2 parts Demerara sugar or turbinado sugar to 1 part water and cook slowly on low heat, continually stirring for around 30-45 minutes.  Do not allow the syrup to come to a simmer or boil during this time.  Remove syrup from heat and allow to cool overnight to reach the optimum consistency.  

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