Craving a virgin mint julep for Derby day? We’ve got you covered with our easy Disneyland mint julep mocktail recipe!
I’d never watched a single Kentucky Derby (or horse race!) in my life until I met my husband. His family always picks horses for the race, so I was introduced to the world of classic juleps, Kentucky Hot Browns, fancy hats, and funny racehorse names through them.
We don’t really watch the race anymore, but one thing that definitely stuck around was our love of mint juleps.
Whether it’s ordering a round of Disneyland mint juleps on a trip to the parks, mixing up a julep for a summer barbecue, or gathering around to watch a race, a good virgin mint julep recipe is always a winner!
Ours channels all the fresh, bright mint flavor we love in a julep without any of the alcohol. It’s kid-friendly, pregnancy-safe, and perfectly refreshing any day of the year.
Here’s what you need to mix up a yummy mint julep mocktail…
All About Mint Juleps
Juleps are a family of drinks that includes a sweetener (like simple syrup) and an herb (like mint, basil, etc.). Mint Juleps are the most well-known julep drink in the United States, and often the word “julep” refers to mint juleps, rather than the julep family.
Mint Juleps are most famous for being the official drink of the Kentucky Derby (Church Hill Downs sells more than 120,000 a year!). A classic mint julep is made from muddled mint, bourbon, simple syrup, and crushed ice, for a cool, refreshing, slushy drink to cool off with on a hot race day (like the Kentucky Derby!) or National Mint Julep Day (May 30th).
Mint juleps are traditionally served in silver or pewter cups (similar to how a Moscow Mule is served in a copper mug) to keep it extra cold. These silver mint julep cups frost over, so if you hold the cup by the rim or base, your drink (and hand!) stays super cool.
When you’re not at the racetrack, mint juleps are often served in a Collins class (with a straw), a highball glass, or an old-fashioned glass.
Here’s What You Need To Make a virgin Mint Julep
So how do we turn this alcoholic drink into a non-alcoholic drink recipe? With a few flavorful swaps!
- Crushed Ice. Mint Juleps are known for being SUPER frosty, so using crushed ice is the best! We use this ice tray for crushed ice.
- Mint Simple Syrup. A great Disneyland mint julep recipe starts with mint simple syrup. We’ve got a whole tutorial all about how to make mint simple syrup, but it’s as easy as can be! It’s just water, sugar, and fresh mint leaves.
- Fresh Mint Leaves. You’ll need some for the mint simple syrup recipe, but you’ll also want a few mint sprigs for garnishing the mint juleps. They’ll instantly cue your tastebuds to all the yummy flavor to come.
- Lemonade. Some virgin mint juleps are made with ginger ale, but when we did side by side taste tests, everyone at my house preferred their virgin mint julep with lemonade instead. You can use whatever kind of lemonade your family enjoys–store-bought, homemade, sugar-free, etc.
- Sparkling Water (Or Lemon-Lime Soda). Then, you’ll finish off the julep with some bubbles! We usually use sparkling water/club soda to cut down on the sugar, but you can absolutely use lemon-lime soda if you like! (Sprite, 7UP, etc.)
What’s In A Disneyland Mint Julep?
Disney closely guards their signature Disneyland Mint Julep recipe (I get it!), but rumor has it their non-alcoholic mint julep is made from mint syrup, lemonade (or lemonade concentrate), and lemon-lime soda. If you’re looking for a good copycat Disneyland mint julep recipe, I’d recommend ours, made with lemon-lime soda! It’ll instantly transport you to New Orleans Square!
How To Make A Mint Julep Mocktail, STep By Step
- Start By Making The Mint Syrup. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water and stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Steep. Turn off the heat and add the mint leaves, gently crushing a bit with your spoon or whisk. Steep at least 30 minutes, then strain out the leaves by pouring the simple syrup mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Cool syrup to room temperature. Chill and store the mint simple syrup in an airtight container up to 2 weeks in the fridge.
- Make Your Julep! Fill a julep cup or tall collins glass with crushed ice. Add 1-2 Tablespoons mint simple syrup, then pour in 1/3 cup lemonade and 1/3 cup sparkling water or lemon-lime soda. Gently stir with a straw and garnish with more mint leaves (and a lemon slice, if desired!)
Turn Up The Mint! If you like, you can add even more mint flavor by gently muddling a few mint leaves with the mint simple syrup at the bottom of the cup before building your drink. Muddle the mint in the syrup, then add the ice, lemonade, and sparkling water/soda.
FAQ + Tips And Tricks For The BEst Non-Alcoholic Mint Julep
How Long Does Mint Simple Syrup Last? Mint simple syrup can last up to 1 month in the fridge, though we recommend using it within 2 weeks for best results. You’ll know it’s not good anymore if it smells off, hisses or fizzes when opened or takes on a cloudy appearance.
A Trick For Crushed Ice. Mint juleps are known for being a little bit slushy, thanks to using crushed ice. We use this ice tray for crushed ice, but if you don’t have one, you can crush ice in a bag with a rolling pin, or pick up some pebble ice (Sonic sells theirs!) and use that instead.
Try It With Berries! One of my favorite variations on a virgin mint julep is adding fruit! We love trying the seasonal and specialty juleps at Disneyland, and they often play around with fruit flavors. Try mixing strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries into our mint julep mocktail recipe. Muddle the fruit at the bottom of the glass with the simple syrup and mint leaves–It’s delicious!
Other Flavor Variations To Try. If you’d rather not add fruit, try one of these tasty twists!
- Ginger. Add a few slices of fresh ginger to the mint simple syrup as you make it. (Like we do in the ginger-mint syrup in this mocktail recipe) It adds a little bit of warmth and some kick! Or, use ginger ale in place of the lemonade.
- Lemon or Lime. A little extra squeeze of lemon or lime can add lovely brightness!
- Vanilla. Just 1-2 drops of vanilla can add a lovely layer of flavor. Use bourbon vanilla to play up the bourbon notes in a classic mint julep!
🌟 Leave a star review below when you try our Virgin Mint Julep recipe! We can’t wait to hear what you think!Print