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Ginger-Mint Juleps with Fresh Pineapple

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(Image credit: Nealey Dozier)

I’ve never been to the Kentucky Derby, but every year my family and friends celebrate it as if we were racing heirs from Lexington. Our standard menu includes everything from ham biscuits, hot browns, and homemade Derby pie. A few rounds of Mint Juleps, of course, are a must. This fresh take on the classic, with pineapple chunks, spicy ginger syrup, and a sprinkle of black peppercorns, will be your go-to from now until summer meets its final days.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

This year I decided to branch out from the traditional Mint Julep, and I may never look back. A spicy ginger syrup tinged with black peppercorns stands in place of the usual simple syrup, and pineapple chunks are muddled right alongside the mint. Kentucky bourbon is poured over a mountain of finely crushed ice, followed by a splash (or two) of pineapple juice to bring all of the flavors home.

This julep is sweet and spicy and just as good as the original. Watch out, though! The actual race may only last two minutes, but these can knock you out in just one.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
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Ginger-Mint Juleps with Fresh Pineapple

This fresh take on the classic, with pineapple chunks, spicy ginger syrup, and a sprinkle of black peppercorns, will be your go-to from now until summer meets its final days.

YieldMakes 1 cocktail (can be easily doubled or tripled)

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10

    mint leaves

  • 2

    heaping tablespoons chopped pineapple

  • 2 tablespoons

    ginger syrup (see recipe below)

  • 2 ounces

    (1/4 cup) Kentucky bourbon, such as Maker's Mark

  • 3 tablespoons

    pineapple juice, or more to taste

  • Mint springs and pineapple wedges, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place mint, pineapple, and ginger syrup into the bottom of a cocktail glass or julep cup.

  2. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, mash the ingredients to release the flavors. 

  3. Pack finely crushed ice over the fruit mixture, filling the glass all the way to the top. Pour the whiskey over the ice, followed by the pineapple juice and stir gently to combine. Top with more crushed ice to fill the glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and wedge of pineapple. The drink will be stiff at first but mellows as the ice melts. Add more pineapple you want it sweeter. 

Recipe Notes

To make a batch of 4 juleps, quadruple the amounts of syrup, mint, and pineapple and muddle in glass bowl. Split between 4 cocktail glasses and continue with the recipe.

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Ginger Syrup

YieldMakes 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 4 cups

    water

  • 2 cups

    sugar

  • 1 cup

    peeled, sliced ginger 

  • 2 teaspoons

    black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Bring water, sugar, ginger, and peppercorns to a boil in a large sauce pot over high heat. Turn down to medium and cook, maintaing a rapid simmer, until liquid is reduced to 2 cups, about 1 hour. 

  2. Transfer the mixture (do not strain) to a heat proof container to cool completely. Syrup will keep in the refrigerator for two months, or half the recipe if desired.

(Images: Nealey Dozier)

Nealey Dozier

Contributor

Nealey Dozier is a former wedding planner turned chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer, and food writer. She is based in Atlanta. You can find more of her Southern adventures in eating and entertaining at www.dixiecaviar.com.