The BBQ season is here so it’s only fitting to make a cocktail that would be the best BBQ cocktail you can have while grilling or eating BBQ food. So BBQ Mint Julep it is. It has all the tastes that can’t be missed at some BBQ party. Smoke, beer, roasted marshmallow, chocolate, strawberry and freshness of mint. It’s an event in a glass, or in a julep cup in this case.
Let’s see what we need to make the BBQ Julep cocktail.
The base will be Aberlour 14 double cask, a wonderful 14-year-old single malt scotch, matured in a combination of oloroso sherry casks and first-fill American oak casks. That’s a great woody component for our cocktail. And you can’t have a Julep cocktail without plenty a sweetener and of mint.
For the syrup I made an IPA craft beer syrup. No reduction this time, because of the strong fruity notes of this beer.
I’ll also add chocolate bitters and a couple of drops of saline solution. Chocolate and salt are always a great combination.
And to top off the cocktail with a smoky aroma I’ll spray it with some peated scotch. You can’t go wrong with Ardbeg if you want plenty of smoke. You can grab both bottles at from my collection at Curiada.
And for the garnish and dessert, Campfire Strawberries with torched marshmallow fluff.
IPA beer syrup:
● 150 g IPA Beer
● 150 g sugar
So let’s start with IPA beer syrup. I went to a local microbrewery, Lobik Brewery, where a couple of dedicated guys create a wide range of excellent craft beers, with interesting names and great art work. I found a beer that will pair nicely with Aberlour 14. I decided on LOBIKRON Double IPA, which is a stronger, very hoppy variant of an IPA with ABV of 8%. Cascade in Styrian fox hops give the beer some citrus notes with berries, honey and subtle black pepper, which will work great with our scotch.
To start making the syrup I’ll pour the beer into a bowl in a way that releases as much carbonation as possible. Mixing the beer helps with that too, or you could leave it to sit for an hour or two. This will make sure our syrup doesn’t foam up too much when we heat it up to dissolve the sugar. To make a 1:1 syrup add equal weight of beer and sugar in a pot. And don’t worry if you don’t find a Double IPA - finding the beer that works best with your choice of whisky is a fun way to learn more about craft beers.
Place on low heat, stirring occasionally. Check to see when the sugar dissolves completely and as soon as that happens your syrup is ready. We’re not reducing the beer this time, because the strong fruity notes of the IPA will be present in the syrup without applying too much heat to the beer.
After it cools a bit you can bottle your delicious IPA syrup.
● 1 egg white
● 80 g sugar
● 15 mL (0.5 oz) water
● 4 drops vanilla extract
Let’s move on to make the dessert for our gathering - Campfire strawberries. I can’t get marshmallow fluff, but it’s super easy to make. All you’ll need is 1 eggwhite, 80 grams of sugar, some vanilla extract, water, a hand mixer, and to be precise, a food thermometer.
I’ll whisk the eggwhite with 40 g of sugar. You could do this by hand but it would take a lot longer. Whisk until you get a nice meringue mixture which is stiff enough that it stays in the bowl if you turn it upside down.
Next, to get the right marshmallow fluff texture we need to add some sugar syrup. Dissolve another 40 grams of sugar in about 15 ml, or 0.5 oz of water over medium heat. Once the sugar dissolves, you’ll want to check the temperature and heat the syrup to 115°C, or 240°F. Take it off the heat and slowly pour it into the meringue mixture, while whisking at high speed.
Add 4 drops of vanilla extract and whisk it in the mixture.
Once you get to soft peaks, which you check by taking the whisk out of the mixture, you have a perfect, homemade marshmallow fluff.
That’s when we get our version of the campfire ready and start preparing the strawberries. Dip the skewered strawberries, before toasting with a torch. Repeat with all strawberries, and make sure you have a couple extra, because these are a great treat for everyone, young and old, and a sure way to impress your guests with a sweet tooth.
Now all you have to do is make sure nobody eats all of the campfire strawberries before you make and enjoy the cocktail. Let’s build.
BBQ Mint Julep:
● 60 mL (2 oz) Aberlour 14
● 8-10 mint leaves
● 7,5 mL (0.25 oz) IPA beer syrup
● 4 dashes chocolate bitters
● 2 drops saline solution
● Ardbeg mist
● campfire strawberry
Since we’re making a Julep cocktail I’ll of course use a julep cup, but a rocks glass would work too.
I’ll first add 60 ml, or 2 oz, of Aberlour 14. Bourbon is used for the classic, but this scotch will work great in this BBQ julep.
Take a handful of mint, about 8-10 leaves, give them a spank and toss them in the cup. Gently muddle to release the oils and the strong mint aroma. Alcohol will help with that, so you don’t have to over do it, because mint can turn bitter. Now I add the syrup - 7,5 ml, or 0.25 oz. I think this IPA beer syrup would also work great in a whiskey sour, but I'd love to hear your cocktail ideas for it as well.
To add a few chocolate notes, which will go great with mint and the strawberry, I’ll add 3 dashes of chocolate bitters. And like we often do, 2 drops of 20% saline solution, which will enhance all of the flavors.
Now we add ice. I’ll crush it using a lewis bag and my brand new Cocktail Time mallet, custom made by a friend of the channel, using oak and ash wood. I love how it looks and I look forward to years of using it to crush ice for Juleps and other cocktails. You really have to check out the video to see it.
Fill up the cup, give it a few churns, to chill and dilute, but also to work the mint around the cup. Then pack the cup with more ice and gently press it down. That's a perfect job for the julep strainer. Garnish with a mint bouquet and a campfire strawberry. Don’t forget to spank the mint and place the strawberry, and a straw, next to the mint.
Final step, to add some liquid smoke, is to spray the whole cocktail with Ardbeg peated scotch. It’s up to you how much is enough.
You should be able to smell the smokiness straight away.. so just dive in. Cheers.
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To make it easier for you to try these recipes you can grab the bottles from my collection at CURIADA