Jalapeno Mint Julep

A jalapeno mint julep in a pewter julep cup, topped with a mint sprig and jalapeno slice.

To be honest, most mint julep recipes I’ve had are overly sweet, cloying, and hard to finish. This is my twist on the julep: It’s minty and verdant, with a kick of spice at the end that makes you want another sip. Serve this jalapeño mint julep in a pewter or silver julep cup, and drink it outside on a porch sheltered by a magnolia tree.–Edward Lee

LC Lip Tingler Note

If you’ve always craved a little tingle as you’ve knocked back a mint julep, all you need is some jalapeño. Well, and something of a daring spirit, but we’d venture to say you’ve already got the latter.

Jalapeño Mint Julep

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 35 M
  • Serves 1
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Special Equipment: Julep cup and wooden muddler (recommended but optional)


  • For the jalapeño simple syrup
  • For the mint julep


Make the jalapeño simple syrup

In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and peppers and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn off the heat and let the mixture steep for 20 minutes.

Strain the syrup and let it cool to room temperature. You should have about 1 1/2 cups. (You can pour any unused simple syrup into a resealable container and refrigerate for up to a couple weeks.)

Make the mint julep

Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a julep cup, highball glass, mason jar, or some other julep-to-lips facilitator. Add the 1 ounce jalapeño simple syrup and gently bruise the leaves with a wooden muddler or a wooden spoon.

Add enough crushed ice to fill the cup almost 2/3 full. Add the bourbon and stir gently, then fill the cup almost full with more crushed ice. Top with a splash club soda. Garnish with the mint sprig and jalapeño slice and serve immediately.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

This recipe is a very nice twist on the regular mint julep. It's different but doesn't stray crazy far from the classic. The jalapeño syrup gives it a nice gentle kick and adds a terrific green vegetal background that works really well with the mint. The recipes for the syrup and the cocktail are clear and make for a well-balanced drink with little fuss. I had several of these, with and without the club soda splash. I don't think the soda water is really required. The drink is good with or without it, in case you don't want to open a bottle of soda just to use a splash.

I'm a bourbon drinker, but mint juleps always seemed to be a little too soft around the edges for me to enjoy. Juleps are for people who want to like bourbon but need to hide it with mint and sugar, I thought. Still, I was willing to give this spicy version a try. Whoa! I took a little taste of the jalapeño simple syrup and immediately wondered if I was hardcore enough for this drink. It's very spicy!

But once the spicy syrup is added to the muddled mint and bourbon, the spice softens and the earthiness of the jalapeño comes out. And it plays so nicely with the mint and bourbon. I enjoyed this well-balanced, refreshing drink immensely. I may have had 2—you know, in the interest of testing thoroughly.


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