8 Great Bourbons to Put in Your Julep Cup

You don’t have to wait for Derby Day to enjoy a Mint Julep, although the cocktail has been the traditional drink at Churchill Downs for the better part of a century. The traditional Mint Julep is a bourbon lover’s dream cocktail, consisting of nothing more than ice, sugar, mint, and a whole lot of whiskey. (Find our recipe here.)

What bourbon to use? Since it’s the star of the drink, you can’t go wrong choosing your favorite brand. But if you’re looking for a suggestion, try one of these bottles, as reviewed in our Buying Guide.

Maker’s Mark—$25, 89 points

Tried and true with caramel, praline, and pecan flavors, this classic’s floral profile will make the mint sing.

1792 Sweet Wheat—$33, 88 points

You may be able to dial down the sugar a bit with this naturally sweet wheater.

Jim Beam Bonded—$23, 88 points

At 100 proof, this bottled-in-bond bourbon packs a wallop—sip slowly.

Bulleit—$25, 87 points

Balanced and rounded, a crowd-pleaser that will make everyone happy.

Larceny—$25, 86 points

Creamy sweetness and a drying finish play nicely from the first sip to the last.

Smooth Ambler Yearling—$24, 84 points

The West Virginia distillery’s house-made wheated bourbon comes in a small bottle packed with big flavor.

W.L. Weller Special Reserve—$18, 82 points

A younger (and less expensive) sibling to William Larue Weller, this wheater is well worth seeking out.

Wild Turkey 81—$20, 82 points

A great high-rye sipper, it takes to ice like a duck to water.

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