Summer time is julep time, and with a sweet icy base, a pour of whiskey, maple syrup and a touch of nut liqueur this pecan julep will be the best thing you’ll have all day. Many whiskey enthusiasts are purists when it comes to Mint Juleps. Some even schew the julep itself in preference for a neat bourbon or bourbon on the rocks.
But for cocktail lovers who also love all things Derby, taking a hint from the Derby pie with pecans, chocolate and bourbon in sweet decadence, this pecan julep is a great way to celebrate the deliciousness of that seasonal Kentucky pie.
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Flavors in this Pecan Julep
Rather than stick to a bit of sugar, whiskey, mint and lots of ice, adding a touch of maple syrup and just a bit of Rivulet pecan liqueur (my favorite nut liqueur) drives this julep to nutty place, but one that any nut-lover will appreciate. In fact, using a lower proof bourbon that’s slightly nutty already, like Woodford Reserve or Larceny makes the julep even more nutty.
Tips to Make a Great Mint Julep
You can read an entire article on how to make a great Mint Julep here. But I have a few tips to share with you that will easily make your julep stand out:
- Use crushed ice: crushed ice or nugget ice, in combination with a metal cup and a healthy pour of bourbon, makes frost appear on the cup – so that you have to hold the julep by its rim.
- Pour a solid bourbon: It doesn’t have to be an expensive bourbon, but it should be one you enjoy, and one that won’t break the bank as you create them for guests.
- Use home grown, fresh mint – if you can find it: access to a mint patch makes the best mint juleps. Nothing can replace fresh mint in a julep.
- Spank the mint: take the sprig of mint and smack (or spank it) against the back of your wrist before putting it into the crushed/cracked ice in the julep cup. This wakes up the mint and gives it a much more vibrant aroma.
- Use a short straw: your nose should be very close to (or brushing) the mint with every sip. This means each sip on the straw pulls in a hefty aroma of fresh mint with each swallow.
- Muddle the mint gently: over muddling the mint turns it bitter. You just need a few presses with the muddler to unlock the vibrancy of the mint flavor. And really, you can get much of the same flavor simply by rubbing a few mint leaves on the inside of the julep cup.
Other Juleps to Try
Racing Nuts Julep
- 1.5 oz bourbon aged rum also works here
- ¼ oz maple syrup
- 3/4 oz Rivulet pecan liqueur or your favorite nut liqueur
- 8 mint leaves
- Garnish: mint, chopped pecans
- Rub the inside of the julep cup with one mint leaf.
- Add mint leaves, maple and pecan liqueur to the bottom of a julep cup and muddle lightly.
- Add bourbon, give it a quick stir with your spoon and fill with cracked ice.
- Garnish with mint and chopped pecans.