Healthy Mint Julep Recipe (Derby Approved!)

Nearly 120,000 mint juleps are served during the Kentucky Derby. It’s the official drink of the “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports” after all. But you don’t have to be in Louisville during the annual May weekend to imbibe. An at-home celebration is as simple as donning your fanciest hat or pastel colored button-down and whipping together a few ingredients.

Although this version uses mostly traditional ingredients — Kentucky bourbon, fresh mint and crushed ice — we took sugar out of the equation for a healthier, reduced calorie mint julep recipe. The cocktail does have a generous serving of bourbon, so even after the horses have retired to their stables, you’ll still be sipping happy.

RELATED: 15 Cocktails Under 150 Calories (and Better Than Vodka-Soda)

Mint Julep

Photo by Perry Santanachote

Healthy Mint Julep Recipe

Serves 1

Total time: 3 minutes


Leaves from 5-6 mint sprigs
2 packets stevia sweetener
3 ounces bourbon whiskey
2 cups crushed ice
Mint sprigs for garnish


  1. Combine mint and stevia in a julep cup or tin cocktail shaker.
  2. Grind this mixture with a few turns of the wrist using a muddler or wooden spoon, until you smell a strong mint aroma.
  3. Add bourbon and half the ice. Churn with a stirrer until the cup gets frosty.
  4. Top with an additional pile of ice and a whole bunch of mint. Serve with a short straw so you’ll get a nose full of mint with every sip.

Pro Tip: How to Make the Crushed Ice

Any other form of ice will not create the same effect, so take the effort to make crushed ice if you don’t already have it. Wrap ice cubes in a kitchen towel and smash with a hammer until you have a nice mound of snow.

Originally posted May 1, 2014. Updated May 2016.