How To Turn The Classic Julep Cocktail Into A Party Punch

With its reputation of being enjoyed in the South, the mint julep instantly brings to mind cooling refreshment. Consisting of bourbon, mint, and simple syrup, the classic mint julep is easy to make when you're stirring up one or two. But what about for a group? We love tips for hosting a relaxed party, offering even the most talented host or hostess the opportunity to have friends over without breaking the bank, working too hard, and missing the actual fun. Our latest favorite of these tips is how to turn a mint julep into a party punch, because you will definitely miss that fun if you're measuring out bourbon and muddling mint into individual servings all evening.

Turning a classic cocktail into a large format punch requires a few tweaks, like finding other, no- or low-alcohol flavor sources for the drink so you're not just pouring tons of booze into a punch bowl. This is one of the things to consider when turning a mint julep for one into a mint julep for, say, six or 12 or more. To make a big batch of mint juleps that pack flavor without too much alcohol, the trick is to use a black tea base. You'll want it strong, considering it will be mixed in with other ingredients. Use four teabags for every 24 ounces of water, and let it cool while you build the rest of the julep punch.

Tricks like mint syrup make large-format juleps a snap

Twenty-four ounces of black tea will help make a mint julep punch that serves four to six. You'll also need six ounces of bourbon, four ounces of simple syrup, and two ounces of fresh lemon juice. Mix that over ice in a punch bowl or pitcher and then stir in the tea. Take 30 mint leaves — gently but firmly slapped once to release aromatics — and add those in. All you need then is to garnish with some additional mint leaves and lemon wheels, and enjoy.

You can scale this recipe up accordingly, and you can even utilize other time-saving, flavor-boosting hacks. One key option is to turn your simple syrup into mint simple syrup so you don't have to stir in fresh leaves or do any muddling. Simple syrup is indeed simple: It's just one part sugar dissolved into one part water, usually done at a boil on the stove. To add mint, after the sugar has dissolved, take the pan off the heat and add one cup of mint leaves, and let that soak for about three hours. You can either add this syrup to your tea-infused julep punch, or, you can add it to 1½ liters of bourbon in a pitcher. When serving, pour that over crushed ice about halfway up the glass, then top with sparkling water, boosting an already popular refresher with effervescence.