Twisting the classic mint julep idea just a bit, this variation substitutes crème de cacao for the sugar. It's a liqueur that's sweet enough to do the work of the sugar, while adding a chocolate flavor that pairs perfectly with both the vanilla-caramel bourbon notes and the fresh mint.
Your best bet is a good-quality crème de cacao that has a true chocolate-and-vanilla flavor, not a cloying, artificial one; one of the best is Tempus Fugit. Do bear in mind that this version of a julep leans a little on the sweet side, a natural consequence of its overall sweet flavor profile.
Why It Works
- Crushed ice chills the drink rapidly and keeps it cold.
- Crème de cacao delivers more than enough sweetness on its own, so no extra sugar is necessary.
- Yield:Makes 1 cocktail
- Active time: 5 minutes
- Total time:5 minutes
- 10 mint leaves, plus a generous bouquet of mint sprigs for garnish
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (22ml) crème de cacao, preferably Tempus Fugit or another high-quality brand
- 2 ounces (60ml) bourbon or rye whiskey (see note)
- Crushed or shaved ice
In a julep cup or large rocks glass, gently muddle mint leaves until lightly bruised, then swab the glass's sides with the mint's aromatic oils. Add crème de cacao and bourbon or rye and stir well. Half-fill glass with crushed ice and stir to combine. Fill glass completely with crushed ice and stir until outside of glass frosts. Add more crushed ice, heaping generously, then garnish with sprigs of fresh mint. Serve, adding a short straw if desired so that the fragrance of the mint bouquet will greet the drinker with each sip.