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The Best Bourbon Sweet Tea Cocktail Recipe

As temperatures climb, there’s nothing like a bourbon sweet tea cocktail! This recipe combines flavors of tea & lemons with a mint julep for the ultimate refreshment.

There’s something about summertime and sweet tea.

Sure, I enjoy iced tea any time of the year, but when summer rolls around?

I probably drink twice as much…

So when our monthly themed party group decided to do a tea party theme, I couldn’t wait to make a sweet tea cocktail!

The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner, so I decided to try combining my favorite sweet tea recipe with a mint julep.

After all, mint is a delicious way to give your tea a little variety.

Wicker tray with Sweet Tea Bourbon Cocktails garnished with fresh mint next to a bowl of pistachios by a pool

I also have easy access to lots of fresh mint at my house.

You see, when my friends and I discovered mojitos, we kept running out of mint.

Those little packs of mint from the grocery store don’t last very long (plus they’re expensive!).

So I decided to plant some mint in a pot out on our patio.

It was wonderful having as much fresh mint as I wanted!

After our first frost, I thought my mint had died…

Fresh mint growing along a pathway in front of a house

But apparently, it didn’t die before sending out seeds to the area around where the pot was sitting.

The next spring I discovered I had mint for days!

This area gets completely pruned back several times each year and it just keeps coming back over and over until the first frost.

S2M Tip: If you decide to plant mint, be sure to do it somewhere that it can be contained because it’s both hardy and invasive.

Fortunately, I’ve come up with some unique mojito recipes to help use it up!

Plus mint tea.

And mint juleps.

However, mint juleps are an acquired taste.

The bourbon can be a little much if you don’t love bourbon.

This is why this afternoon tea cocktail recipe is so good!

Sweet tea, mint, and lemon really minimize the strong flavor of the bourbon.

Let’s take a peek at how to make a fun Southern cocktail: a Sweet Tea Mint Julep.

With lemon.

So maybe it’s actually a Sweet Tea Lemon Mint Julep?

No matter what you decide to call it, this refreshing cocktail is delicious!

Overhead view of tray with Sweet Tea Bourbon Cocktails garnished with fresh mint on a wicker tray with a bowl of pistachios

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How to Make a Sweet Tea Lemon Mint Julep

It all starts by brewing some sweet tea.

Simply boil a quart of water, then remove it from the heat and add two family-size tea bags.

To get the best mint flavor, add 4-6 mint leaves at the same time as the tea bags.

Let them steep for about 5 minutes, then carefully remove and discard the tea bags and the mint leaves.

Now it’s time to get this tea sweet!

Since I don’t eat processed sugar, I sweeten it with Swerve or monk fruit.

Those sweeteners are the most natural-tasting options I’ve found without any weird aftertastes.

If you use a different low-carb sweetener (or sugar!), here’s a conversion table to help you calculate the right amount.

Large clear glass mug filled with Sweet Tea Bourbon cocktail on a tray with fresh mint and lemons and a pitcher of sweet tea

Everyone has their own preferred amount of sweet, and even though I have a sweet tooth, I like mine sweetened with the equivalent of half a cup of sugar.

My husband likes his twice as sweet!

No matter how sweet you like it, the trick to perfect sweet tea is to add the sweetener when the tea is still hot.

That way the sweetener gets completely dissolved.

If you wanted, the sweet mint tea plus some bourbon would give you the flavors of a Bourbon Tea Julep.

Large clear glass mug filled with Sweet Tea Bourbon cocktail on a tray with fresh mint and lemons & a bottle of whiskey

However, this sweet tea cocktail also has fresh lemon juice and limoncello which really help to mellow the flavor of the bourbon.

Limoncello is a liqueur made from lemon juice, lemon zest, and either grappa or vodka.

It has a smooth, rich lemon flavor!

Our friend Rachel makes her own.

Store-bought limoncello (and most homemade recipes) contain a lot of sugar.

It’s definitely not keto-friendly.

But you can make your own low-carb version too!

If you’re hosting a party, you can make a full pitcher of this spiked sweet tea recipe.

The printable recipe at the end of this post serves 8.

But you can easily make this bourbon tea julep for just one or two.

How to Use a Hand-held Juicer the Right Way

You can use store-bought lemon juice to make this bourbon tea cocktail.

But why?!

It never tastes as good as freshly squeezed.

It’s so easy to squeeze fresh lemon juice with one of these hand-held presses.

They’re great for limes, grapefruits, and oranges too.

Just be sure you put the fruit in the right way to get the most juice possible.

Half of a lemon in a manual juice press

When you cut a lemon in half, it looks like it fits perfectly into the cup and the press would squeeze out the juice.

However, if you put the lemon in with the cut side facing up, you’re doing it wrong!

If you’re lucky, it will squeeze out about one Tablespoon of juice.

Instead, flip it around so the cut side faces down.

You’ll end up with about three times as much juice!

How to Make A Single Serving

You don’t need to wait for a party to enjoy one of these sweet tea cocktails.

It’s super easy to make up just one at a time.

We keep sweet tea in the fridge all summer long, so just pull out the pitcher of tea!

Glass filled with ice, bourbon, and fresh mint with a measuring cup of sweet tea

If the tea wasn’t brewed with mint, start by putting one or two mint leaves and a wedge of lemon in the bottom of a glass.

Use a muddling tool to extract the oils from the mint leaves by pressing them and smooshing them around.

Then add a bunch of ice.

Glass filled with ice, bourbon, and fresh mint with a measuring cup of lemon juice

Measure out 1 ounce of bourbon, and 1 Tablespoon of limoncello plus 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice.

If you don’t have any limoncello on hand, no worries! You can use 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice.

Overhead view of a glass of Southern Tea Lemon Mint Julep cocktail with a clear glass swizzle stick

Add sweet tea to fill the glass and give it a stir.

Some fresh mint and a lemon wedge make it look fancy.

Now head out to your front porch (or back deck, or patio, or wherever you like to sit outside) and set a spell, sipping on your Sweet Tea Lemon Mint Julep.

Practice saying things like hey y’all, bless her heart, and What in the Sam Hill.

Because no matter where you might be, you’re enjoying the taste of summer in the south.

You might also like this summery Peach Sangria recipe while you’re setting a spell!

Be sure to leave a star rating and review after you make the recipe!

This helps other people to find and enjoy it too.

Plus it means the world to us!

Large clear glass mug filled with Sweet Tea Bourbon cocktail on a tray with fresh mint and lemons and a pitcher of sweet tea

The Best Bourbon Sweet Tea Cocktail Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

As temperatures climb, there's nothing like a bourbon sweet tea cocktail! This recipe combines flavors of tea & lemons with a mint julep for the ultimate refreshment. See notes for keto-friendly suggestions.


  • 2 family-size tea bags
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup Swerve sweetener (to taste)
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1/2 cup limoncello*
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • lemon wedges and fresh mint for garnish (optional)


  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, and remove from heat. Add 2 family-sized tea bags and 4-6 fresh mint leaves to the boiling water and let it sit for five minutes. Carefully remove and discard the tea bags and mint leaves.
  2. Add preferred sweetener to taste. Traditional sweet tea has 1 cup or more of sugar, but I prefer mine less sweet. I use 1/2 cup of Swerve sweetener (equivalent to 1/2 cup of sugar). Stir until dissolved. Let the tea cool to room temperature.
  3. To make the cocktails, add the sweet tea to a pitcher, then add 4 cups of cold water. Stir in bourbon, limoncello*, and lemon juice.
  4. Serve over ice with fresh mint leaves and lemon wedges to garnish.


*Limoncello is a lemon liqueur that is high in sugar. You can make keto-friendly limoncello with this recipe. Or you can double the lemon juice and add another 1/4 cup of Swerve for a similar flavor (although it's not quite as smooth as limoncello).

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