Illustration for article titled Your Mint Julep Needs Maple SyrupPhoto: Claire LowerHappy hour with 3 ingredientsHappy hour with 3 ingredientsThe weekly beverage column with super simple but delicious libations.

I’ve only been a homeowner for a few months and I want to tell you this house is full of surprises. Some are bad, like the fact that the previous owners didn’t put insulation between the glass stove and the counter; but some are good, like the mint that grows in the yard.

Now I know what you’re going to say – mint planted in the ground will take over the yard. I am satisfied with it. There’s a cactus back there too and I’m excited to see what happens when they finally meet. Plus, a lot of mint isn’t a bad thing because mint tastes great, especially in cocktails.

Illustration for article titled Your Mint Julep Needs Maple Syrup

Although I’m a “Southerner” and my mother went to school in Kentucky, I don’t come from a bourbon drinker lineup. My pedigree is full of moon cutters, tea totes, and Catholics – and one of my grandmothers used to make her own fig wine – but bourbon is just another bottle of liquor that isn’t part of anyone’s identity.

Maybe that’s why I don’t care much about the type of sugar that goes into my Mint Julep. I like juleps a lot – although I’ve never seen or participated in a derby – but the ones sweetened with plain syrup are just as valid as those with powdered sugar in my eyes (and mouth). This is probably scandalous information for someone, but this openness led me to try a maple-sweetened mint julep at the insistence of me AA Newtonand it was a great decision.

G / O Media can receive a commission

Similar to a Maple old fashioned, a maple mint julep is just a little more interesting than its sucrose-sweetened counterpart. It’s a little richer, a little more complex, and – thanks to the lack of real viscosity in maple – easy to mix. To do it you will need:

  • 8-10 mint leaves, depending on size and thickness, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 ounce maple syrup
  • 2 ounces bourbon (I used bottled-in-bond as crushed or pellet ice melts pretty quickly)

Add the mint and syrup to a lowball or julep glass (if you have one) and mix the mint. Add the bourbon, fill the glass with crushed or pebble ice and stir everything in the glass until it gets cold. Add more ice to form a little dome on top of the drink, then tuck in a few more mint leaves for garnish.