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A Mint Julep is a thing of beauty, piled high with crushed ice and garnished with a ceremonious bushel of mint. That said, many are surprised to find out it's one of the easiest cocktails to make, requiring just bourbon (or cognac), sugar syrup, mint, and ice. What’s the secret? The perfect Julep is ice cold, even in hot Southern heat.
That’s where a stellar Mint Julep cup comes in. The stainless steel (or copper) cups are designed to keep your drinks chilled for longer, mitigating hand heat and retaining the temperature of the ice. While a Julep in a regular glass will become hot minty slosh in a snap, a proper Julep cup is key to the drink’s thirst-quenching abilities. We researched our favorites to come up with this list of the best Mint Julep cups to get just in time for the Kentucky Derby and to enjoy all summer long.
Best Overall: Cocktail Kingdom Julep Cup
Cocktail Kingdom has built its reputation as one of the preeminent places to stock up on bar goods, so it’s no surprise their Julep cup is superior than most. The Julep vessel is large and heavy, giving it a high-end feel in your hands when you’re drinking from it.
While the traditional copper is an easy sell, Cocktail Kingdom also sells a gunmetal black option. If you’re looking to switch your Julep vessels away from the standard copper, opt for this option that offers a little more style.
Surface-level notes aside, the cup's high-end metal construction means it frosts up quickly, protecting your drink from balmy temperatures. It holds 12 ounces, stands 4.5 inches in height, and weighs just under 9 ounces. These cups are not dishwasher safe.
Good to Know: With the crown of ice that tops a Julep, it can be tough to sip directly from the lip of the glass. Consider picking up a few reusable straws.
Related: The Best Cocktail Glasses
Best Design: Sertodo Copper Hand Hammered Water Cups
In the design category, these hammered copper water cups take top marks—they skip the classic Julep cup design in favor of clean, simple lines. But from a more holistic perspective, the brand notes that drinking water from a copper vessel not only helps keep drinks cold but offers a variety of other health benefits, according to Mexican healers.
The cups are made with care by Mexican artisans from 100% recycled copper. That means they do require a little extra effort when cleaning: hand wash and dry immediately after use. If the copper does start to patina, polishing with copper polish will clean up any spots or stains.
While the brand advertises them as water glasses, the copper construction and size means they would look great with a Julep poured into them. They have a slight lip for sipping and a hammered copper construction.
Best Large: Twine Old Kentucky Home Mint Julep Cup
If you’re drinking doubles, opt for a vessel that can keep up with you. This Mint Julep cup can hold 16 ounces of liquid comfortably. Traditionally designed with stamped detailing around the rim and base, the interior of the vessel is brass with an exterior electroplated in silver. You can also opt for the all-copper iteration of the Julep cup. Both metals are food safe.
When you’re not sipping Juleps, the cup doubles as an excellent vase. The glass stands 4.25 inches tall. Hand washing is recommended as the silver plating will chip if you don’t wash carefully. The glasses will benefit from an annual polishing to keep them in their best shape.
Good to Know: You may notice that most options on this list are hand-wash only. While that may seem like an inconvenience, that’s the trade-off when opting for a high-quality glass—your drink will stay frosty for ages longer than a dishwasher-safe glass.
Best Value: Godinger Beaded Mint Julep Cup
For the price tag, Godinger’s Mint Julep cup offers incredible value. The elegant glasses have the appearance of high-end Julep glasses with the price tag of an everyday water glass. The classic design has beading around the rim and the footed base.
While many Julep cups are heavy, these vessels are super lightweight thanks to the breezy, stainless steel construction. Even though they aren’t thick, the cups frost quickly to protect your drink from outside temperatures.
With that in mind, these Julep cups are very small, holding just six ounces of liquid and standing 3.75 inches tall. If you’re not sipping on a Julep, this mug doubles as an excellent place to keep cocktail picks. If you’re looking for a lightweight, beautifully crafted option on a limited budget, this is the call.
Related: The Best Bar Tools
Best for Durability: Barfly Julep Cup
This set of Julep cups checks off a lot of boxes: it comes in a range of finishes, it’s high quality, it holds a full cocktail, plus, it’s heavy in your hand. Did we mention they are dishwasher safe?
Barfly’s Julep cup comes in three different finishes: standard stainless steel, gold, copper-plated, and a darker chrome. All are made from 18-8 stainless steel that is resistant to pitting and corrosion. The footed base is larger than most, giving this Julep cup excellent stability. Barfly is a well-regarded cocktail tool brand, meaning, these are built to last.
This is a heavier option—almost double the weight of most on the list. The cup stands five inches tall and 4 inches wide. Twelve ounces of a cocktail can be poured into this Julep cup.
Good to Know: If you’re shopping for Julep essentials, you’re going to want a lewis bag and mallet—this will make crushing ice a breeze.
Best Set: Real Deal Steel Mint Julep Cups
Ideal for more raucous Kentucky Derby parties (or high-volume bars), two Mint Julep cups come packed in this set of derby-party essentials. The glasses hold a generous twelve ounces, giving you enough room to sip everything from Juleps to Moscow Mules.
One detail is the cup only features rounded edges—this will save you from cutting yourself on a sharp edge. Unlike most Julep cups on the market, these are dishwasher safe and made with 100% food-grade 18/8 stainless steel.
Standing at 4.5 inches high and holding 12 ounces, the extra shiny, mirrored exterior is a smart design touch, plus, the glasses have a durable finish to keep rust and tarnish at bay. That said, these cups do have a rather large seam between the cup and the base which may bug glassware nerds.
Related: The Best Moscow Mule Mugs
Best for Parties: Genuine Fred Copper Party Cup
Sub out your red solo cup for a more temperature-conscious option. This Julep cup is based on the classic party cup design, complete with tiered quantity markers. The first tier is a shot, the second, a glass of wine, and the third, an average highball.
Whether you’re sipping Juleps, Moscow Mules, or beer, the copper party cup will retain the correct temperature of your drink for a lengthy period of time. Plus, these glasses extend far beyond the single use of the classic party glasses—the super durable, heavy-duty cups are built to survive drops and spills, parties and campouts. When the party's over, the cups stack together for easy storage.
The brand recommends hand washing this cup to keep the sheen. The cup holds 16 ounces of beverage and stands 4.92 inches tall.
Best Personalized: Mark and Graham Silver Mint Julep Cup
Picking up a gift for a notable Julep enthusiast? An engraved set of cups will do the trick.
The nickel-plated stainless steel cups are finished with a laser engraved monogram for a personal touch. The vintage-inspired design features hand-stamped detailing. The cups come in two different sizes: a 10.5 ounce for cocktails and a more spacious 18.5 ounce. The latter is ideal for use as a vase and party-sized drinks or punches. The former stands 4.5 inches tall while the latter stands 5 inches tall.
Use these glasses for frozen cocktails and hot teas—they’re the perfect gift for the entertainer in your life. Like most of the options on this list, these glasses are hand-wash only.
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Kate Dingwall is an experienced spirits writer and glassware collector. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for six years, including extensive coverage on glassware.