Food + Wine

Ginger Grape Julep with Thyme and Black Pepper

You have about 3 hours to go and make this for you and someone else.  Or I guess they both could be for you.  Or you could make as many as you want.  Or you could make it sooner than 3 hours.  Or in less than 3 hours.

That’s really not the point.

Just make it and drink it while you watch horses run.

I’ll spare you my opinions on horse racing, but I do love me a good theme.

And I also love me bourbon.

So this is just my fun take on a Mint Julep.  There’s no mint involved, but there is bourbon.  And fresh thyme.  And black pepper.  And lemon juice.  And a simple syrup I made with brown sugar infused with fresh ginger…

Guys.  This is damn good.

I threw it together last night for a friend when we got sick of tequila and beer.  I just kinda made it up as I went along, and we loved it.  And today recreated it so I could share it all with you!

You’re welcome.

A quick note on the bourbon used here…. we keep Wild Turkey 101 as a ‘house pour’.  It’s just a solid choice for an inexpensive price and is actually much smoother than their 80 proof.  But we always have higher levels of bourbon in the house.  I used Basil Hayden’s for this.  You use what you like… just make sure it’s good 😉

Happy Saturday!

And please be careful, sweet and beautiful horsies.



Ginger Brown Sugar Syrup

(makes 1 cup, but you only need a couple ounces for 2 drinks.  Keep the rest in a glass jar with a lid in the fridge for weeks!  Great in iced tea too 😉 )

In a small saucepan, combine the following…

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I prefer light)
  • 1 knob of fresh ginger… about 1 inch piece, peeled

Heat well enough to dissolve the sugar… no need to boil.  Stir to make sure the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Once dissolved, turn off the heat and allow it to cool completely with the ginger still in.

*recipe for 2 cocktails*

In a shaker combine the following…

  • 1 handful (1/2 cup) red grapes
  • 6-7 sprigs of thyme (eq. to 1 bunchy bundle) stems + leaves
  • 1 extra large lemon (or 2 small ones…like the kind that come in the bags), juiced
  • 10 grinds of cracked black peppercorns

Muddle this until all the grapes have broken apart and their juices have escaped… and the thyme and black pepper is fragrant.

Add to the shaker…

  • 4 ounces bourbon 
  • 2 ounces homemade ginger brown sugar syrup

Fill shaker with ice and shake shake shake.

Pour into your favorite glass and top with ice.

(You could also top with seltzer, or even ginger beer, but that would make it sweeter.)

Garnish with a fresh thyme sprig, if desired, and another grind of black pepper.

And these glasses are by Bormioli Rocco and are actually cappuccino cups…  But I like ’em for cocktails.  You can find them HERE on


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