Healthy Mint Julep Recipe

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Try this Keto Mint Julep for a refreshing low-carb cocktail. Made with fresh mint, bourbon, and a homemade keto simple syrup, this cocktail is the perfect way to cool off on a hot day. This sweet and minty drink is perfect for poolside parties, Kentucky Derby events, or any other occasion. Learn how to make this healthy cocktail with our easy-to-follow recipe!

Sugar-Free Mint Julep

The mint julep is a classic cocktail with a rich history dating back to the 18th century in the southern United States. What once started as a medicinal beverage made with brandy, sugar, and mint has evolved into the traditional Kentucky Derby drink and is now closely associated with horse racing and southern culture.

Traditionally, a mint julep is high in carbohydrates due to granulated sugar and other sweet ingredients. As a result, many people following a keto or low-carbohydrate diet cannot enjoy this beloved cocktail.

But there’s great news! You don’t have to consume too many carbs or sugars to indulge in a delicious cocktail. To make this keto-friendly mint julep, we will use a keto simple syrup with a low-carb sugar alternative, such as an erythritol monk fruit blend. Furthermore, keto mint juleps typically skip all the high-carbohydrate additions like fruit juices and soda pop, keeping the drink low in carbs while still delivering the classic minty flavor.

Lastly, this cocktail recipe is easy to follow and can be made with simple ingredients, making it accessible to those who otherwise feel intimidated by cocktail making. So if there’s one drink you can start with, let it be this keto-friendly cocktail.

This effervescent alcoholic drink remains a beloved cocktail with a rich history and cultural significance. The low-carb mint julep is a great alternative for those following a keto diet, allowing them to enjoy the flavors and traditions of this classic drink without sacrificing their dietary goals.

Looking for a low-carb cocktail without the sparkle? Our Lemon Twist Martini recipe is perfect for an elegant evening or special party.

low-carb keto cocktail over ice with mint leaves

How to Make a Healthy Mint Julep

Gather five simple ingredients and you’re halfway to making a refreshing cocktail in just five minutes. Sweetened with a keto simple syrup, this lovely adult beverage will become your favorite.

If you have mint growing like weeds in your backyard, this is a perfect way to use them up. And if you don’t grow mint, I highly suggest it!

Mint is one of the easiest plants to grow and ideal for containers. Watch out though, because it’s guaranteed to spread quickly if you don’t keep it in a pot. So pick a place wisely and enjoy fresh mint recipes like this one all the time.

keto-friendly mint julep recipe in glass with ice and muddled mint, bourbon alongside

Ingredients

  • Bourbon – the main spirit that gives the cocktail its distinctive flavor and kick; Rye whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, or blended whiskey will provide a similar flavor profile.
  • Club soda – added for effervescence and to dilute the cocktail; can use sparkling water or seltzer water.
  • Keto simple syrup – provides low-carb sweetness without the use of sugar (see recipe below); can also use stevia, monk fruit sweetener, or allulose.
  • Fresh mint leaves – adds a fresh and aromatic flavor; great alternatives are spearmint, chocolate mint, or lemon balm. 
  • Crushed ice – used to chill the cocktail and dilute it to the desired strength.

Before you pick those mint leaves for your glass of julep, let’s do a quick batch of keto-friendly simple syrup.

For the keto simple syrup:

In a small saucepan, combine two cups water and two and one-half cups granulated keto sweetener. Heat over medium heat, stirring until erythritol dissolves. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool. Use what is needed immediately and store leftovers in an airtight container like a jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Substitutions and Variations

This fun drink is traditionally made with bourbon and fresh mint and enjoyed over ice. However, you can switch things up to give a different flavor profile. 

Check out these variations:

  • Bourbon alternatives – Rye whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, or blended whiskey. These alternatives will provide a similar flavor and can be used interchangeably in a mint julep recipe.
  • Swap out fresh mint for spearmint or lemon balm for a fun twist.
  • Blended mint julep – for a fun change, throw all the ingredients in a blender and mix on high speed for a few seconds to make a blended mint julep. Also works well for a large batch of mint julep for a crowd.

Adapt keto mint julep to best suit your diet. There are several easy ways to modify the recipe and adjust for particular dietary needs.

  • Keto diet – This recipe is naturally low-carb and keto-friendly.
  • Paleo diet – Use maple syrup or honey as the sweetener. 
  • Low oxalate diet – All ingredients are low-oxalate ingredients.
  • GAPS – There are only a few alcoholic spirits allowed on the GAPS diet. Swap out bourbon with scotch and sweeten it with honey for a GAPS-friendly cocktail. Enjoy very occasionally. 
  • Whole30 – Make a virgin mint julep by swapping out bourbon with sparkling water and using date paste to sweeten the drink.

This easy drink recipe is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.

view from above of sugar-free mint julep cocktail over ice

Step-By-Step Directions

Follow these simple directions and you can’t go wrong! Once you have the simple syrup done, the cocktail comes together quickly and easily. 

One of the benefits of this fun drink is that you can easily adjust the recipe to make mint julep for a crowd. Keep reading for directions on how to do that effortlessly in a large pitcher.

view from above of muddled mint in glass awaiting keto julep recipe

Step one: Muddle

Add the mint leaves and simple syrup to a six-ounce glass. Muddle until fragrant by using a cocktail muddler or the handle of a large wooden spoon to press and crush the mint leaves.  

You can adjust the cocktail’s sweetness by adding more or less simple syrup. Always start low and add more as desired.

view from above of glass of mint julep cocktail over ice with muddled mint

Step two: Add ice and liquids

Fill the glass with crushed ice. Measure out bourbon and club soda and add to the glass.

view from above of keto mint julep in glass with ice and mint garnish

Step three: Stir

Give a few strong stirs and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and enjoy.

Don’t have a muddler? Here are some kitchen hacks to try if you need a muddler substitute.

Use these alternative tools instead of a traditional cocktail muddler:

  1. Wooden spoon – Add the mint leaves to the glass. Turn the spoon upside down and press the bottom end of the handle into the leaves. Gently crush them against the bottom and side walls of the glass.
  2. Rolling pin – Put the mint leaves inside a plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap and roll a rolling pin across until they are crushed. Press firmly if needed.
  3. Mortar and pestle – As one of my favorite tools for crushing seeds and grinding powders, a mortar, and pestle comes in handy for a mint julep too. Place the leaves in the bowl of the mortar and crush them with the pestle until fragrant.

Once you crust the mint leaves, proceed with the rest of the recipe as usual by adding the ingredients to a glass, giving a stir, and garnishing with fresh mint.

glass of keto mint julep over ice with fresh mint and bottle of bourbon alongside

Keto Mint Julep Nutritional Info

There is one serving of this keto mint julep. There are only 134 calories in a mint julep made with a low-carb sweetener. 

Each serving contains:

  • 134 mint julep calories
  • 1 g total carbs
  • 1 g net carbs

Please note that the nutritional value will change if you substitute ingredients. Use a nutrition app like My Fitness Pal to recalculate and reflect your changes.

keto mint julep bourbon cocktail in glass with ice and mint leaves

Mint Juleps for a Crowd

Love entertaining but dread the thought of making individual drinks? No worries. Grab a large container and learn how to make a pitcher of mint juleps to accommodate your guests. 

This recipe easily makes eight servings of mint juleps. However you want to enjoy that is between you and your guests. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of bourbon
  • 2 cups of club soda
  • 1 cup of keto simple syrup (see recipe below) or regular simple syrup or honey if not keto
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • 4 heaping cups of crushed ice

For the large batch of keto simple syrup:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 ½ cups granulated keto sweetener

Follow directions for making the simple syrup as they are written in the original recipe.

To make a pitcher of mint julep, muddle the mint leaves in the simple syrup directly in the pitcher until fragrant using a cocktail muddler or a handle of a large wooden spoon to press and crush the mint leaves.

Fill the pitcher with crushed ice. Pour the bourbon and club soda over the ice in the pitcher. Stir well to combine. Taste for sweetness and adjust with more sweetener or bourbon as desired.

Pour into individual glasses and garnish each serving with a sprig of fresh mint. Feel free to make a pitcher of mint julep recipe ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just make sure to stir well before serving.

batch of keto mint julep served in a glass over ice with mint leaf garnish

Mint Julep FAQ

Can you make a make julep with whiskey?

Traditionally, a mint julep is made with bourbon, not whiskey. However, it’s possible to create a similar cocktail using whiskey as the base spirit and call it a Whiskey julep.

Is Maker’s Mark keto-friendly?

Maker’s Mark is a bourbon whiskey, and as such, it’s keto-friendly in moderation. However, it’s important to note that all alcoholic beverages, including bourbon, contain calories and can slow down weight loss progress if consumed in excess.

Is bourbon keto?

Bourbon is a type of whiskey made from corn, which is a high-carbohydrate grain. However, because bourbon is a distilled spirit, it’s very low in carbohydrates and can be considered keto-friendly in moderation.

Can you drink alcohol on keto and still lose weight?

Drinking alcohol in moderation is generally considered compatible with the keto diet and weight loss goals. However, it’s important to choose low-carbohydrate and low-sugar options. 

More importantly, consume alcohol in moderation to avoid slowing down weight loss progress. Additionally, some people may find that their tolerance for alcohol is lower on the keto diet, so it’s essential to monitor alcohol intake and listen to your body’s signals.

More Easy Keto Cocktail Recipes

If you love energy-boosting espresso, try a Keto Espresso Martini with fresh espresso and vodka. 

Or choose a virgin drink like Hibiscus Mint Keto Mocktail and use the power of tea to flavor another refreshing mint drink.

Keto mint julep in glass garnished with fresh mint leaves.

Keto Mint Julep Recipe

Jessica Haggard
Try this Keto Mint Julep for a refreshing low-carb cocktail. Made with fresh mint, bourbon, and a homemade keto simple syrup, this cocktail is the perfect way to cool off on a hot day. This sweet and minty drink is perfect for poolside parties, Kentucky Derby events, or any other occasion.
5 from 48 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 134 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

For the cocktail:

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 2 ounces club soda
  • 1 ounces keto simple syrup or use 2 tbsp of the recipe below
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup crushed ice use a generous (rounded) measurement

For the keto simple syrup:

Instructions
 

For the keto simple syrup:

  • In a small saucepan, combine water and sweetener. Heat over medium heat, stirring until erythritol dissolves. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let cool. Use what is needed immediately, and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
    1 cup water, 1 ¼ cup Keto sugar substitute

For the cocktail:

  • Add the mint leaves and simple syrup to a 6-ounce glass. Muddle until fragrant by using a cocktail muddler or the handle of a large wooden spoon to press and crush the mint leaves.
    4 fresh mint leaves, 1 ounces keto simple syrup
  • Fill the glass with crushed ice. Add bourbon and club soda.
    2 ounces bourbon, ½ cup crushed ice, 2 ounces club soda
  • Give a few strong stirs and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Notes

You can adjust the cocktail’s sweetness by adding more or less simple syrup to taste.

Nutrition & Macros

Serving: 1cocktailCalories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.04gSaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 31mgFiber: 0.3gNet Carbohydrates: 1g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, please calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients and amounts used, using your preferred nutrition calculator. Under no circumstances shall the this website and the author be responsible for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on the given nutritional information.

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4 thoughts on “Healthy Mint Julep Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    I planted a clump of mint in my garden and keeping it contained has been the perfect excuse to make this recipe for myself again and again!

    Reply

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