This Saturday happens to be Cinco de Mayo and Derby Day. And really, what’s more festive than an excuse for Americans to get wasted on margaritas and a celebration of animal cruelty happening on the same damn day? Nothing, I say! But it’s totally not classy to have a julep in one hand and a margarita in the other — and I’m all about being fucking classy here, people — so I sort of just combined the two. I mean, not tequila and bourbon in the same drink (what kind of monster do you think I am?), just the essence of the two.
It was a happy little accident, really. Last week, when I made a small batch of jalapeño-basil syrup for my spicy marg, I also made a huge fucking batch of plain old jalapeño syrup, thinking I’d use it for an event. Then I put it in the freezer and forgot about it for a week. Oops. It was a nice surprise to find it in there, but even nicer to find it hadn’t totally exploded (just a little leakage). Since I needed simple syrup for a julep anyway, I decided to go with it, and then I figured if I was adding that, a little lime wouldn’t hurt, either. And that’s how this beautiful little Mexituckan fusion cocktail baby was born. If I didn’t call it a julep or a margarita, you wouldn’t even think twice about it. But I want you to think, like, 17 times about it, so here you fucking go.
For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 fresh jalapeños
For the drink:
A shitton of fresh mint leaves, plus a fuckton for garnish
2 ounces jalapeño syrup
2 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice (approx. the juice of two limes)
2-3 slices fresh jalapeño, optional
2 ounces bourbon
To make the jalapeño syrup: Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Once it reaches a rolling boil, turn off the heat and add 4 (more if you want it really spicy) fresh jalapeños (sliced however, with seeds). Cover, and let it steep for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve, discard the solid shit, then set the syrup aside (or refrigerate it) to cool. This will make about 1 cup and the extra will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to two weeks (and honestly, it will probably keep longer but I’m covering my ass here, okay?).
To make the drink: Muddle a light handful (or about 12-ish) fresh mint leaves with the jalapeño syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker or wide-mouth mason jar with a wooden spoon. I like to add a few slices of fresh jalapeño here for extra kick, but I’m a total freak and it’s absolutely not necessary. Add the bourbon along with a handful of ice, cover, and shake the shit out of it. Double strain (or just strain if you don’t mind mint and possibly jalapeño seeds) into a julep cup (or just a regular fucking cup) filled to the brim with crushed ice. Add a ridiculous amount of fresh mint leaves for garnish and enjoy!
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