Make A Southern Julep Like Bobby Flay With A Citrus Burst

As the official beverage of the Kentucky Derby, the mint julep is also a Southern staple. It features Kentucky-born bourbon or whiskey, mint, and simple syrup, delivering a deliciously fresh, sweet, and smoky drink to enjoy whether you're in the South or not. As a classic cocktail, the mint julep's strength is in its simplicity. That said, modern mixology has put its fair share of delicious twists on the classic cocktail and Emmy-award-winning chef Bobby Flay has his own unique version that offers a wonderful burst of citrus and aromatic sweetness. 

Flay may be a New Yorker, but Southerners would approve of his aptly named ginger julep, which he enhances with ginger and orange juice. As shared by Food & Wine, Flay's iteration of the mint julep is still a three-ingredient recipe, combining fresh mint and simple syrup into a mint and ginger-infused simple syrup to pair with bourbon and orange juice. Orange juice lends a tang and sweetness to the smoky and rich bourbon, while the mint and ginger simple syrup rounds the drink out with a spicy and botanical finish. Flay also adds orange peel to his simple syrup for a double dose of citrus flavor.

How to make a ginger julep

Once you've made the simple syrup, which entails heating sugar and water on a stove, the ginger julep is even easier to assemble than the classic version, requiring no muddling or fancy equipment. After boiling the sugar and water, pour the hot syrup into a container with the orange peel, peeled and chopped ginger, and fresh mint leaves. The heat will facilitate the release of their flavors and aromas. Once the syrup is cooled, you can pour it through a strainer to remove the orange peel, ginger, and mint.

From there, you'll pour a tablespoon of the mint-ginger simple syrup into a chilled cup with 1.5 ounces each of bourbon and orange juice to make the ginger julep. The last step is to add a scoop of ice and stir to combine. Any leftover simple syrup would taste great to sweeten tea, club soda, or lemonade.