The easiest way to dress up a plain old Mint Julep is by adding a flavor to its sweet sugar base. Louisville chef Edward Lee turns up the heat by infusing simple syrup with spicy jalapeño peppers, which he then mixes with cooling mint and bourbon for his icy-hot take on the Derby classic.
- 2 1/2 ounces bourbon
- 1 ounce jalapeño simple syrup (see Editor's Note)
- 4-6 mint leaves
- 1 splash soda water
Garnish: thin slice of jalapeño and a mint sprig
- In a julep tin or rocks glass, add mint leaves and simple syrup. Gently press mint leaves with a muddler to release oils.
- Add enough crushed ice to fill the glass two-thirds of the way.
- Pour bourbon over top and stir gently to mix.
- Fill with more crushed ice to mound over top.
- Top with a splash of soda water.
- Garnish with a slice of jalapeño and a sprig of mint.
In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 2 chopped jalapeño peppers. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Once dissolved, turn off the heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Let syrup cool, then strain into a container and refrigerate until ready to use. Will keep for two weeks.