CHARLESTON, S.C., April 5, 2018 — Garden & Gun, widely known as the authority on Southern culture, in partnership with Maker’s Mark® and Bourbon Country®, announces Mint Julep Month® (April 5 to May 5) — a national campaign that celebrates the mint julep beyond one day of horse racing and encourages participants to ditch plastic straws in support of water sustainability efforts. Mint Julep Month® was started in 2013 by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau to encourage excitement throughout the city and along the Urban Bourbon Trail leading up to Derby season.

This year’s campaign festivities kick off on Sunday, April 8, with an invitation-only Julep Brunch at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City featuring original twists on the mint julep cocktail created by four celebrated bartenders and continues throughout the month with hundreds of participating bars, restaurants, and other establishments across the country. Go to for participants.

Kentucky’s love of the famous bourbon cocktail began in the late 1700s as a refreshing morning drink or medical remedy,” said Stacey Yates, vice president of marketing communications, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Today, the mint julep is synonymous with Louisville and the entire horseracing season, and we are excited to celebrate the Bourbon Country legacy with a national audience thanks to our partnership with Garden & Gun and Maker’s Mark.”

The mint julep has become one of America’s most iconic cocktails. The straw, invented specifically for use in sipping the mint julep, is every bit as iconic. Unfortunately, the paper straws of the 1800s have evolved into the modern plastic straws that contribute heavily to environmental pollution.

“You can’t make great bourbon without clean water, which is why we have always been so passionate about water conservation and sustainability at Maker’s Mark,” says 8th Generation Whisky Maker and Maker’s Mark COO, Rob Samuels. “In addition to preserving our natural spring-fed lake and creating a natural water sanctuary at our distillery, we’re excited to do our part in keeping water clean beyond our own grounds during Mint Julep Month. You can’t beat a great cocktail in support of a great cause.”

“Storytelling is at the core of everything we do at Garden & Gun and the mint julep is one of the most storied cocktails in history,” Christian Bryant, Garden & Gun vice president and publisher. “We are excited to celebrate new Derby traditions and fine handcrafted cocktails with our partners at Maker’s Mark Bourbon and Bourbon Country.”

On Sunday, April 8, accomplished Southern-based bartenders will kick off Mint Julep Month® with a Julep Brunch, on the rooftop terrace of the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. Featured bartenders have crafted original cocktail recipes inspired by the traditional julep to be served alongside a Southern-inspired brunch menu during the party.

Mint Julep Month® will cap off on Saturday, May 5, with the ultimate Kentucky Derby viewing party on the rooftop of The Dewberry hotel, in Charleston, South Carolina.

All julep cocktails consumed at official Mint Julep Month® events will be consciously served with paper straws.

The mint julep dates back to the late 1700s, and as early as 1816, silver julep cups were coveted prizes at county fairs in Kentucky. State senator Henry Clay is credited with introducing the mint julep to the world at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., and in 1938 Churchill Downs in Louisville named the cocktail the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. In 2013, the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, began Mint Julep Month® to celebrate the famous bourbon cocktail for the entire month of April leading up to Derby Day.

Mint Julep Month® takes place from April 5 to May 5, visit to find out how to take part; the site allows you to register your business as a partner and search for participating bars and restaurants in your city. It also offers a list of julep recipes to make at home and share on social media and provides information about the paper straw movement.


  • NATURE’S SWEET RESTORER julep cocktail created by Ryan Casey. Casey is beverage director at The Dewberry hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, and is nominated for a 2018 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program. Link to recipe.
  • SALLIE GARDNER julep cocktail created by Matt Lofink. Lofink is bartender at cocktail bar Curein New Orleans, Louisiana, and was nominated for a 2017 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program. Link to recipe.
  • THE FOURTH TURN julep cocktail created by Stacie Stewart. Stewart is bar director at chef Edward Lee’s MilkWood and newly opened Whiskey Dry in Louisville, Kentucky, and named by Wine Enthusiast as one of the 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2017. Link to recipe.
  • A STUDY IN PINK julep cocktail created by Kellie Thorn. Thorn is beverage director at chef Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South in Atlanta, Georgia. Link to recipe.

The featured bartenders’ original recipes and the inspiration behind each cocktail can be found on the official Mint Julep Month website at

For a complete list of participating bars and restaurants or to find out how to take part in Mint Julep Month® in your city, visit Hundreds of businesses in sixteen states from New York City to Los Angeles, California are taking part in the month-long campaign.

Follow Mint Julep Month on social media via Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at: @gardenandgun @makersmark @gotolouisville and tag #MintJulepMonth #GardenandGun #MakersMark #BourbonCountry

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About Garden & Gun
Garden & Gun is a multiplatform media company that celebrates stories of the American South through powerful journalism, bold photography, exquisite design, and finely curated retail and experiential journeys. The brand is anchored by its award-winning national magazine launched in 2007, Garden & Gun, which reports on the South’s sporting culture, food, music, art, literature, and its people and their ideas. The coveted audience of 1.6 million is further engaged through the brand’s Whole Hog podcast, numerous New York Times best-selling books, Mercantile + Co. and FIELDSHOPretail experiences, and 75+ events each year. Visit

About Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
In 1954, in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr., fulfilled his dream to create a handmade and delicious bourbon. He decided to make his whisky in small-batches, using soft red winter wheat, with a proprietary barrel char to enhance the softness and sweetness. He then rotated each barrel by hand for consistency, and finally, aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr., transformed bourbon from a “commodity” into a premium handmade spirit, and today Maker’s Mark® continues to make its bourbon exactly the same way. In recent years, Maker’s Mark has introduced thoughtful, super-premium innovations to its portfolio including Maker’s 46®, Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength and Maker’s Mark Private Select™, the brand’s first-ever custom barrel program. In 1980, the Maker’s Mark distillery became the first distillery in America to be designated a National Historic Landmark and has also been decreed as the “world’s oldest operating bourbon whisky distillery” by Guinness World Records. It remains one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s most popular tourist destinations, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. For more information, please visit

About Bourbon Country
Bourbon Country is the birthplace of America’s only native spirit.  While bourbon can be made anywhere in the US, over 95% of the world’s supply comes from Kentucky where it has been part of the culture and lifestyle of the region for over 200 years. Lonely Planet recently recognized Kentucky’sBourbon Country as one of the top destinations to visit in 2018. A visit to the Kentucky cities and towns producing bourbon and celebrating the spirit in tours, retail, culinary and cocktail experiences and unique accommodations can be planned at

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