Jayce McConnell wishes people would order mint juleps beyond just the summertime and, more precisely, the beginning of May.
“It’s a great cold weather drink too,” McConnell, a bartender at Edmund’s Oast, said. “What I love about a mint julep is it’s really boozy when you first get it in your hand. But then it changes as you go. It’s something you can hold onto for quite a while at a party.”
But the cocktail isn’t a top craving during Super Bowl parties.
For Mint Julep Month, which runs through the day of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, McConnell put his own take on the classic cocktail. His is made with green chartreuse, a type of liqueur the bartender said “I’ve been known to throw where it doesn’t belong.”
Several Charleston bars are hosting Derby parties this weekend or participating in Mint Julep Month, a national celebration organized by Garden & Gun and Maker's Mark, by offering twists on the drink.
While some juleps will fade from area menus after Saturday, Edmund’s Oast will serve the drink “for a while beyond the Derby,” McConnell said.
Read on for details about Derby parties:
The Harbour Club
The Harbour Club, 35 Prioleau St., Charleston, is hosting a Derby Party that includes pimento cheese sandwiches, hot browns, fried chicken, derby pie, bourbon balls and one complimentary mint julep. Admission costs $25. To make a reservation, call 843-723-9680.
Bay Street Biergarten
The bar/restaurant on Bay Street is bringing its Kenpuppy Derby Party back on Saturday. Festivities include a puppy costume contest, hat contest and "derby cup betting." Bulleit mint juleps cost $20 with a souvenir glass and $10 without.
The Watch Rooftop Kitchen & Spirits
The Restoration Hotel’s restaurant is hosting a Kentucky Derby-themed celebration from 4-7 p.m. Saturday. The party will include mint juleps, menu items such as buttermilk-battered spicy chicken sandwiches and oysters. For more info, call 843-518-5115.
Charleston Sports Pub
Here's where to go for mint juleps:
Home Team BBQ
Home Team is serving a strawberry rhubarb julep for $11 at its downtown location on Williman Street. It's made with pickled strawberry from GrowFood Carolina and rhubarb bitters.
Zero Restaurant + Bar
Zero, 0 George St., made a “Tin it to Win it" julep, featuring bourbon, spiced coriander syrup, demerara syrup, cilantro and mint.
Dubbed “The We've Got to Live, No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen Julep,” Wild Common's take on the cocktail adds green chartreuse for an herbal kick and, instead of bourbon, is made with cognac. It's inspired by DH Lawrence's quote, "I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself."
5Church, 32B N. Market St., pairs fresh-squeezed orange juice with bourbon, lime, mint and sugars for a blood orange Julep.
The Churned Julep at The Grocery, 4 Cannon St., includes an emulsified butter syrup with a hint of lime.
If your horse doesn't win, you might want to order The Derby Blues at Ms. Rose's, 1090 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Ms. Rose's concoction comes with muddled blueberries and lemon along with bourbon, mint and honey syrup.
The mint julep at Husk, 76 Queen St., has been dubbed The Dark Horse. It features Maker's Mark Cask Strength, Branca Menta, Amaro di Angostura and mint.
At Fleet Landing, 186 Concord St., the Julep Noir is a regular on the cocktails menu. It's made with bourbon, orgeat syrup, amaro, muddled mint and club soda.
McConnell's Carthusian Julep is made green chartreuse, mint, thyme and chartreuse powder. It's available at Edmund's Oast, 1081 Morrison Drive.
Burwell's Stonefire Grill
Burwell's Stonefire Grill's julep — named Thoroughbred Named Mark — includes locally grown Kentucky Colonel Mint and a splash of house-made ginger beer.