The Best (Pear) Mint Julep for the Kentucky Derby


Pear Mint JulepMint juleps are a classic Southern cocktail that are perfect for spring and summer as temperatures begin to rise. Originally concocted as a medicinal drink in the 1700s, it was co-opted by the Kentucky Derby in the 1930s and served in special collectable glasses and we’ve associated the cocktail and the event ever since.

What’s the History?

Back in the day, mint juleps were always served in silver julep cups that would frost on the outside. You’re probably thinking, “Wouldn’t that get a little uncomfortable to hold?!” You’re not the only one. Now, you’ll see juleps served in more common cocktail glassware like rocks, highball, and collins glasses. So, don’t worry: you don’t need to add any more single cocktail glassware to your collection in order to enjoy this drink.

d'Anjou Pears, 12 count

Mint juleps are in the family of smash cocktails and always have the same four ingredients, although preparation can vary from bartender to bartender: mint, simple syrup, bourbon, and ice. A simple combination that’s delicious and refreshing.

We wanted to put our own spin on this classic and we think even tradition-sticklers are going to love this Pear Mint Julep. The slightly tangy, sweet taste of a Stemilt d’Anjou Pear is the perfect complement to smoky bourbon and fresh mint, so we created a homemade pear simple syrup to use in this drink with the help of our friend Chelsea Cole from aducksoven.

Ingredients for Pear Mint Julep

Let’s Add in Some Flavor

You’ll start by simmering a cored and diced Stemilt d’Anjou pear in a bit of water until it’s soft, then crush the pear with a fork and strain off the juice. Then you’ll simmer that juice with sugar until just dissolved to make your simple syrup. It’s truly that easy!

The cocktail itself is just pear simple syrup muddled with fresh mint leaves, then topped with bourbon and ice. You don’t need a long list of ingredients to get delicious flavor and this drink is proof. A fresh mint garnish is a great way to make this cocktail pretty and you get the added benefit of smelling that fresh mint while you sip!

Best Serving Practices for Mint Juleps

Mint juleps are meant to be served very, very cold, and to achieve that, here are a few tricks to keep in mind:

  • If you’ve got the foresight, pop your glasses in the freezer for a while before assembling.
  • After topping the cocktail with ice, use a stirring spoon and stir aggressively until the outside of the glass begins to frost. You may end up needing to top with more ice after this.

This Pear Mint Julep is best enjoyed while wearing pastels and an elaborate hat! Let us know in the comments what other fun flavors you think would make a great mint julep.


  • For the pear simple syrup:
  • 1 Stemilt d’Anjou pear, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • For the Julep:
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 1/4 oz pear simple syrup
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • Ice
  • Mint leaves, for garnish

Mint juleps are in the family of smash cocktails, a simple combination that’s delicious and refreshing.

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To make the simple syrup:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the water and diced pear and cover.
  2. Let simmer for 5-7 minutes, until pears are soft. Smash with a fork to release the juices, then strain the juice off.
  3. Rinse the pot and return to the burner. Add juice back to the pot.
  4. Add the sugar to the juice in the pot over medium low heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking frequently.
  5. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, continuing to whisk, until sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside to cool.

To make the Julep:

  1. Add 8 mint leaves and ¼ oz pear simple syrup to a rocks glass and muddle.
  2. Top with bourbon and fill with ice.
  3. Stir until the outside of the glass begins to chill. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve.

Nutritional Information

Per Serving

  • Calories: 614
  • Fat Content: 0.3g
  • Cholesterol Content: 0mg
  • Sodium Content: 14mg
  • Carbohydrate Content: 128.1g
  • Sugar Content: 113.6g
  • Fiber Content: 5.1g
  • Protein Content: 0.9g