Try Strawberry Basil Juleps for the Kentucky Derby!
If there is one thing synonymous with the Kentucky Derby, it’s the classic mint julep and donning over-the-top big hats. This year, I’ll be hosting a little mint julep party while watching the races. I really want to serve a signature mint julep with a bit of a “twist”. I’m excited to share the recipe with all of you!
I highly recommend taste-testing the traditional mint julep before getting creative behind the bar because it’s absolutely delicious, but if you want to serve up a unique flavor variety, then you must try this strawberry basil julep too. It’s the perfect blend of sweet with lots of garden-fresh flavor too. You can certainly add in a bit of mint for good measure also. Strawberries are in season too so it’s the perfect way to use fresh berries! I’m off with my little one to pick strawberries here in Nashville today so I’m pretty positive these strawberry basil juleps are in my future! Here’s to the RACES!
The julep is a strong cocktail, but the crushed ice as well as the strawberry basil flavors help lessen the intensity of the bourbon. Finely dicing the basil helps release its natural oils, giving it a strong basil flavor. The more basil leaves you muddle in the bottom, the stronger the taste. You can absolutely swap the basil for mint in a strawberry mint julep that is also a tasty recipe. Set out both herbs and let your guests decide with a mint julep bar!
Strawberry Basil Juleps
- 6 strawberries sliced
- 1 bunch basil leaves
- 6 ounces bourbon
- 1/2 cup simple syrup
- Muddle several strawberry slices and a basil leaf in the bottom of each glass. Use a muddler or the bottom of a wooden spoon.
- Fill each glass with crushed ice, layering in sliced strawberries and finely diced basil.
- Divide bourbon and simple syrup evenly. Add more simple syrup if preferred.
- Garnish with basil leaves and strawberries.
I love to make an occasion out of my fancy cocktails, so a striped straw or other drink stirrer is a must. For an easy DIY stirrer, tie festive ribbon onto a bamboo skewer and stir away (or check out this whimsical drink stirrer)! Be sure to set out a few nibbles and bites when serving alcohol. Try mini cucumber tea sandwiches, cheese and crackers, fruit skewers or other “mix and mingle”-style appetizers.