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.

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


Rich Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup Demerara sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

Burnt-Spice Julep

  • 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 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


Make the Rich Simple Syrup

  1. In a small saucepan, warm the sugar and water over low heat and stir until a thick syrup forms. Remove from the heat, let cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

Make the Burnt-Spice Julep

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

  2. In a chilled julep cup, muddle the mint leaves with the 1/2 ounce of the Rich Simple Syrup (reserve the remaining syrup for another use). 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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