While Derby Day signals that spring has fully arrived, in the balmy South it's more like an unofficial kick-off to summer. By the time early May rolls around, the mercury has already been on the rise for months—and we're certainly feeling it. To help combat even the most unrelenting scorchers, Chadwick Boyd of Lovely & Delicious Enterprises, Inc. has created a modern summer twist on a classic Mint Julep. He uses granite-style frozen fresh watermelon instead of shaved iced in addition to can sugar, lime, fresh mint, Maldon salt, and (of course) plenty of bourbon. Don't worry, this cocktail is as heavy on the bourbon as you want and expect with a julep. You're going to love the refreshing, summer taste of it too. Serve it in your favorite highball glass or stick with tradition and serve it in Julep cups—we don't think your guests will care one way or another as long as there's enough of this delicious cocktail to go around. Just don't forget to top each cocktail with a spring of mint. Add these Watermelon Derby Juleps to your Derby menu or any spring or summer event for a surefire crowd pleaser.


Credit: Chadwick Boyd

Recipe Summary test

Makes 4 juleps


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Process the watermelon in a food processor. Puree until smooth. Pour into a medium size mixing bowl. Stir in the water, sugar, lime juice, zest and mint. Mix very well with a whisk.

  • Pour into a 9"x13" metal baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap.

  • Place in the freezer for 4 hours until fully frozen or overnight.

  • Let the pan sit on the counter about 30 minutes before making the cocktails so the watermelon will slightly thaw and shave easily.

  • Glide an ice cream scoop over the frozen watermelon and fill each julep glass, capping each of the tops like a snow cone.

  • Pour 2 ounces of bourbon over the watermelon ice in each cup. Sprinkle a pinch of Maldon salt over top and garnish with a wedge of fresh watermelon a sprig of mint.

Testing Note

This recipe was not tested by the Southern Living Test Kitchen.