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With the Kentucky Derby this weekend and more important for Nashvillians, The Iroquois Steeplechase on May 10, it’s time to break out the silver and pewter cups for the ultimate race-day specialty—Mint Juleps.

More than 120,000 mint juleps are served at Churchill Downs over the two-day period of the Kentucky Derby. This is a twist on the traditional julep adding summer’s favorite fruit: blackberries. 

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The tart and sweet flavor of the blackberries is a perfect addition to the smooth bourbon and fresh mint.

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The secret to a great mint julep is all about the ice. It is important to use shaved or small ice cubes. Sonic ice is great for this, and yes, they sell it by the bag. I ended up shaving ice in my blender and it worked perfectly—almost making a slushy texture.


What are you serving during your race day party this year? Hopefully this Blackberry Mint Julep!

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Blackberry Mint Juleps
Leaves from 4-5 mint sprigs
1 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces bourbon whiskey
1/2 cup blackberries
Mint sprig for garnish

Place ice cubes in blender and blend until ice is very fine. Fill julep cup overflowing with slushy ice.

In a shaker, muddle blackberries, mint leaves and simple syrup. Add ice cubes and bourbon to shaker and shake well.

Strain the drink into the mint julep glass over ice and garnish with mint leaves. Serve immediately.

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