Mint Julep Iced Tea can be made with bourbon or without so that everyone can enjoy this minty and refreshing beverage whether watching the Kentucky Derby or simply enjoying an afternoon of sunshine and socializing.
I’m in the minority in my tea preferences. I’m decidedly an unsweet iced tea drinker. I have been for a long time. This was further confirmed for me the other day when I pulled through the Chick-Fil-A drive-thru and they accidentally gave me a sweet tea. I took a one sip and thought I was going to have sugar shock. But again, I know I’m in the minority on the iced tea debate so this Mint Julep Iced Tea can be customized to your personal taste preference, thanks to the mint simple syrup served on the side.
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Do you watch the Kentucky Derby? We live so close to the Kentucky boarder, and so I’ve adopted a couple of things in regards to Kentucky since living here. My fondness for bourbon is one. And actually paying attention to the Derby is another. Honestly it’s an excuse to eat some good food and sip on some bourbon more than betting on any horses. The hats and fashions make for fun people watching too.
A traditional Mint Julep doesn’t really have much of a mixer. It’s straight bourbon poured over a muddled mixture of mint and sugar plus crushed ice. They pack a serious punch. For me I always feel like they need a little diluting because I like to sip on my drinks and not feel like I need to crawl under the table early on in the festivities. So that’s why I’m sharing this recipe for Mint Julep Iced Tea. Tea is a great compliment to these flavors and it allows for longer sipping. And for your friends who don’t drink, just omit the bourbon.
Tips for making Mint Julep Iced Tea:
- You can brew your own tea but for convenience you can purchase already brewed unsweetened tea
- Fresh mint from the garden is preferable – if you decide to grow your own mint be sure to keep it contained. We used to have a small patch of mint in our yard and it just kept spreading and spreading like a weed.
- Which bourbon you use for this drink is personal preference – my favorite bourbons at the moment are Eagle Rare and Angel’s Envy
- Limes or lemons are optional – but I personally like a lime slice with my mint julep iced tea
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Mint Julep Iced Tea
- 4 cups brewed, unsweetened iced tea
- 1 cup bourbon
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- crushed ice
- mint leaves
- lime and/or lemon slices
- In a sauce pan combine the one cup of water, one cup of sugar and one cup of mint leaves. Bring to a boil, stir until sugar dissolves and remove the pan from the heat. Leave the mint leave in the mixture to steep for about 20 minutes. Strain the mint leaves out and discard and pour the simple syrup into a glass container, preferably with a pouring spout. This recipe can be doubled or tripled. Simple syrup can be made one day ahead and kept in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- Combine the tea and bourbon in a pitcher. Pour the tea and bourbon mixture over crushed ice in individual glasses. Stir about one tablespoon (more or less depending on preference) of the mint simple syrup into each glass of bourbon-spiked iced tea. Serve each drink with fresh mint leaves and lime slices.