This fresh mint slushie, given some body with a hit of cucumber, is great with or without alcohol (bourbon, vodka, gin, arak or ouzo–any of these are great). Serve the mint slushie for a twist on the mint julep for the Kentucky Derby, and then all summer long for a fabulous barbecue party drink.

Fresh Mint Slushie with fresh mint and cucumbers on the counter

Admittedly, my focus on our Kentucky Derby snack table has always had far less to do with the drink thank it has the handfuls of snack. Think licorice Scottie dogs, not hummus and talami.

Which is ironic, given how mint-crazy we are here and how few—if any—mint juleps we’ve actually imbibed.

Fresh mint on the counter

Mint, cucumber and ice in the blender

Licorice scottie dogs in a bowl

I was especially intrigued when I was gifted with a cocktail book that claims the origins of the mint julep far far from Kentucky, and situates it directly in the Middle East. Any quick search online traces it clearly: Julep derives from the Persian gulab and the Arabic julab.

The early drinks were to do with rose water, and always to do with refreshment.

Here’s my take on a good Derby drink: Just a good handful of mint, cucumber for extra-freshness and body, lemonade and ice. Don’t worry, there’s no dram of rose water here—but a dram of bourbon will do just fine.

Mint, cucumber slushie on the counter with fresh mint and cucumbers

Fresh Mint Slushie

Servings: 3
Recipe by: Maureen Abood

This recipe makes about three 6 oz slushies. Make in batches and serve them immediately.



  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 1 1/2 cups lemonade
  • 1 pickling cucumber, cut in chunks
  • Big handful fresh mint leaves
  • 2-3 drams Bourbon, vodka, gin, arak, ouzo (optional)


  1. Blitz everything in a blender and serve immediately.


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