Burnt-Spice Julep

"Customers love this drink like nothing else," says Alba Huerta, owner of Julep in Houston. She flames a tea ball filled with spices and leaves it smoldering in the serving cup, which keeps the aromas in the drink. Recipe from Food & Wine Cocktails 2015 

Burnt-Spice Julep
Photo: © Lucas Allen
Total Time:
10 mins


  • 2 ounces overproof rum

  • 3 allspice berries, 1/4-inch piece of cinnamon stick and 4 cloves, in a small tea ball

  • 12 mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig for garnish

  • 1/2 ounce Rich Simple Syrup

  • 1 1/2 ounces bonded apple brandy

  • 1/2 ounce Jamaican rum, such as Ed Hamilton or Appleton V/X

  • Dash of Angostura bitters

  • Crushed ice

  • 1 lemon twist, 3 thin pear or apple slices and a pinch of confectioners’ sugar (optional), for garnish


  1. In a ramekin, pour the overproof rum over the spice ball.

  2. In a chilled julep cup, muddle the mint leaves with the Rich Simple Syrup. Add the apple brandy and Jamaican rum and stir well. Holding the spice ball with tongs, very carefully ignite it with a long match, letting it burn for about 30 seconds. Place the spice ball in the julep cup, then immediately dash the bitters over the spice ball to extinguish the flame. Fill the cup with crushed ice and spin a swizzle stick or bar spoon between your hands to mix the drink. Add more crushed ice and garnish with the mint sprig, lemon twist, fruit slices and confectioners’ sugar. Serve with a metal straw.

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