3 Charming Southern Cocktails That Rival the Mint Julep (Plus They're Easy to Make!)

We asked the stars of Southern Charm to hook us up with their winning-est Derby Day cocktail recipes.

Who doesn't love a mint julep, especially on Derby Day? But no one says you have to limit your booze consumption to that mint-and-bourbon classic this weekend. The cocktail-loving stars of Southern Charm have a deep bench of fabulous drink recipes, and here, they share their favorite julep alternatives with The Feast. These Southern-inspired cocktails are sure to wow your party guests any time of year, Kentucky Derby weekend and beyond. You can bet on that.

Patricia Altschul's Bourbon Sour

Southern grande dame Patricia Altschul (above), a Virginia native and former New York socialite who now lives in Charleston, famously cherishes her cocktails—and she knows a thing or two about entertaining. Plus, her ex-husband Edward Stitt Fleming was related to Ian Fleming, so an appreciation for a perfectly mixed drink runs deep in her clan. In honor of the Derby, she likes to serve this Bourbon Sour—and as you'll see, she doesn't skimp on the sweet-and-sour mix (or the bourbon). Good thing she likes to limit her cocktail parties to two hours, max.

Bourbon Sour recipe:

1-2 oz. Jack Daniels

Sweet-and-sour mix (twice as much as you'd normally use) 

Bourbon-soaked cherry

Orange slice

In a blender, combine the Jack Daniels, sweet-and-sour mix and ice. Blend until you achieve the desired consistency. Garnish with a bourbon-soaked cherry and an orange slice.

Shepard "Shep" Rose's The Dashing Ashley

Southern Charm's hunky, irreverent Shep Rose (above) might not always say the smoothest thing, but one thing's for sure: He's an expert at mixing up a smooth cocktail. And as owner of the downtown Charleston restaurant The Palace Hotel, knowing how to keep a crowd happy with awesome food and drinks is part of his job description. This party-perfect cocktail is named after a friend and a regular at the Palace's bar.

The Dashing Ashley recipe:

1.5 oz. gin (preferably Hat Trick)
2 oz. grapefruit juice
1.5 oz. ginger beer
1 dash orange bitters
Large basil leaf
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker and add ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
Note: You can use a vodka like Stoli instead of the gin.
J.D. Madison's The Gentry Cousin
Whatever Charleston entrepreneur and restaurateur J.D. Madison, who owns Sermet's Downtown, is drinking in this photo, we want some. Is it the Gentry Cousin? We're guessing yes, since that's one of his signature cocktails—but it's hard to tell because the glass is empty. And your guests' glasses will be too, seconds after they sip this refreshing blend of bourbon, mint, cherry liqueur, lemon and black tea. And since it contains the key ingredients of a mint julep, even straight-up traditionalists will be happy if you serve this up on Derby Day.

  • The Gentry Cousin recipe:
  • 4 mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig
  • 3 lemon slices
  • 4 brandied cherries
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup (mix 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar in saucepan and boil, then cool)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 ounces Gentry bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce cherry liqueur
  • 1 ounce chilled brewed black tea
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
Directions: 
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves with 2 lemon slices, 3 cherries and the Simple Syrup. Add the ice, bourbon, Cherry Heering, tea and lemon juice. Shake well and pour into a rocks glass. Garnish with the mint sprig and remaining lemon slice and cherry.
  2.  

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Shepard "Shep" Rose Drinks Food

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