Springtime -- actually any season -- in Louisville calls for bourbon. But if you're not drinking mint juleps right now, you're doing the season and the Kentucky Derby wrong. To expand your repertoire, we asked bartender Chris Maggio for a new take. 

โ€œBeing that we are in Louisville, the mint julep is somewhat of a tradition around here,โ€ says Chris. โ€œI wanted to put a little twist on it without making things too complicated -- something that would make me feel like I was sitting on a porch in the country while drinking it. I always have cucumber and basil growing in my garden so it just made sense. I added the dash of fresh lemon juice for a touch of that spring brightness.โ€

Photo: Eric Helgas/Styling: Ali Nardi

The Crossroads Cooler


  • 1.33 ounce Bulleit rye or 1.33 ounce of Bulleit bourbon
  • .25 ounce squeezed fresh lemon
  • .5 ounce of cucumber simple syrup
  • 6 to 8 basil leaves
  • 4 to 6 mint leaves, depending on size of leaves
  • Crushed ice


  • Pour .5 ounces of cucumber simple syrup and .25 ounces of fresh squeezed lemon into a shaker.
  • Add mint and basil leaves, and muddle.
  • Add bourbon and shake like heck.
  • Strain into a julep cup, stirring in a the cocktail a little at a time as you add crushed ice.
  • Garnish with small mint and basil sprigs, and optional powdered sugar.


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