How to make the Classic Mint Julep recipe skinny & keto-friendly with only 3 ingredients in less than 5 minutes! The Official Kentucky Derby Cocktail!
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Doesn’t anyone in this country know how to make a godforsaken mint julep?
-Ernest Hemingway after he smashed an ill-prepared Mint Julep in France
The Mint Julep. If you’re a Southerner, a literary type, bourbon enthusiast or fan of the Kentucky Derby, then you’re familiar with the quintessential cocktail.
The story goes that the Mint Julep rose to fame in Washington DC thanks to Kentucky Senator Henry Clay. Scarlett O’Hara, Teddy Roosevelt, and William Faulkner were also fans.
Mint Juleps became the official drink of the derby in 1983. Word is they serve over 130,000 of these every Derby Day!
The recipe for the classic Mint Julep is simple enough.
Mint leaves, simple syrup, bourbon, and a sprig of mint with an optional dash of powdered sugar. In a Julep Cup!
- 3 Fresh Mint Leaves
- 1 Tablespoon Simple Syrup: One Cup Sugar + One Cup Water – bring to a light boil in a saucepan then simmer until the sugar dissolves.
- Crushed Ice
- 2 Tablespoons Bourbon
- 1 Fresh Mint Sprig
If you want to make the OG Mint Julep, I can’t stop you.
But I can politely inform you that the sugar is going to throw your low carb-keto diet for a loop.
And there’s no telling what you’ll do to your diet after you drink it!
Here’s the thing, it’s easy to make a low carb Mint Julep without all those extra steps. And I do believe Hemingway would approve of the simplicity:)
Some recipes call for DIY-ing a simple syrup, but you don’t have to go through the trouble of boiling sweetener substitutes & water.
Just use Swerve! It measures spoon for spoon as a sugar substitute, and it doesn’t have a chemical-y aftertaste. At least not to me:)
Low Carb Mint Julep Must-Have’s
Mint Julep Cups – Chilled
Can you drink a Julep in a Collins glass or a double old fashioned? Sure you can! You can put it in a Dixie cup if you want…BUT if you want to do it the right way & avoid angering the Hemingway types – use a stainless-steel Julep Cup!:)
Freeze Julep Cups for Best Results
Everyone from the South knows that you keep your glasses in the freezer or icebox-because it’s hot as hell outside & it’s the only way to keep a beverage cold! It’s also a little extra, which is essential when you’re serving Juleps.
Use Top Shelf Bourbon
Use the good stuff. The official Kentucky Derby’s Mint Julep uses Old Forester. Maker’s Mark & Four Roses will also do.
Stop The Muddling Madness
Whatever you do, do not muddle your mint leaves! This is the kind of added step that pissed Hemingway off and will make your Julep bitter. Skip it! Just throw the leaves in!
The crushed ice is your mixer in this low carb Mint Julep – it’s kind of a big deal. I’ve tried shaved ice and crushed & I recommend crushed. The julep cups are a bit small, so you want to keep that in mind if you’re getting this detailed about your cocktails!
How To Make Mint Juleps Happen
Take a cocktail shaker and throw in 3 fresh mint leaves and for the love of all things holy leave them alone! Add in 1-2 teaspoons of Swerve. I like 2, but if you’re afraid of going too sweet use 1.5.
Now add in a splash of bourbon. Around 1/2 of a teaspoon maybe more if you’re feeling creative.
Let the bourbon settle for a minute over the Swerve & mint then mix it up.
Add in 1 cup crushed ice & then pour in 2 ounces of bourbon. Now shake it until you feel like you’ve completed a HIIT workout or 60 seconds.
Transfer to a chilled Mint Julep cup and add a sprig of mint as garnish.
If you love this Julep recipe, here are a few more keto recipes for you!
Ultimate Guide To Low Carb Alcohol + Drinking On The Keto Diet – Here’s the one where I share 34+ keto-friendly cocktails and pretty much everything you need to know about drinking + ketosis + keto-friendly alcohol + what to avoid
Total Keto For Beginners – A detailed deep dive into the keto diet for beginners. This one will help you decide if the keto diet is right for you – and a few meal plan options perfect for beginners.
500+ Keto Meal Ideas & Recipes – Here’s the link to my keto recipes index. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll find everything from breakfast to dinner – plus holiday meals – It’s a handy resource to bookmark!Print
Kentucky Bourbon, fresh mint, crushed ice & a dash of Swerve combine to create a classic Mint Julep cocktail that’s low carb, keto-friendly, & sugar-free.
- 2 Ounces + 1/2 Teaspoon Bourbon
- 3 Fresh Mint Leaves
- 2 Teaspoons Swerve
- 1 Cup Crushed Ice
- Mint Sprig for Garnish
- Chill Mint Julep Cups in Freezer
- Place the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker.
- Add 1-2 Teaspoons Swerve
- Pour 1/2 Teaspoon Bourbon over the mint & Swerve & mix.
- Add 1 cup crushed ice & shake vigorously for 60 seconds.
- Transfer to chilled Julep Cup & Add Mint for garnish.
- Prep Time: 2 Minutes
- Cook Time: 1 Minute
- Category: Cocktails
- Cuisine: Southern
Keywords: low carb Mint Julep recipe
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And for more than 500 Low Carb Keto Meal ideas and easy recipes, check out my Keto Recipes Index!