Put Candy Cane Syrup in Your Bourbon

Put Candy Cane Syrup in Your Bourbon
Photo: Claire Lower

Peppermint is one of my favourite seasonal flavours. I usually enjoy it with chocolate, but a recent batch of candy cane syrup has me marrying the flavour with other, non-chocolate things. Like bourbon, for instance.

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I hesitate to call the above beverage a “julep,” because a real julep is made with crushed or shaved ice, and I don’t have any of that, and I don’t feel like arguing with pendants from Kentucky (not today). But the combination of bourbon and candy cane syrup is pretty magical, and frankly much better than I was expecting it to be. No one ingredient — peppermint, sugar, or bourbon — lingers on your tongue for too long. They take turns, each making an impact before passing the baton to the next.

It’s a good drink, a sweet drink, a strong drink. It’s a drink that tastes like Christmas. It’s also very versatile — you can approach it several different ways. Build it in the glass and stir bourbon and syrup in a bucket over a big rock, shake it up and strain it into a coup, or make it a proper julep by pouring it over crushed ice and garnishing with peppermint leaves (or mini candy canes).

Much like our Fernet & Cream cocktail, this drink only requires two ingredients, but you can add one of the garnishes I just mentioned if you need that third one. You will need to make some candy cane syrup first, but that is easily accomplished by following these instructions. To make this festive beverage, you will need:

  • 2 1/2 ounces (73.9 ml) bourbon
  • 3/4 ounces (22ml) candy cane syrup

Combine the two ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a coupe or over some crushed ice and enjoy. If you want to be lazy about it, just add the bourbon and syrup to a lowball with a big rock and give it a little stir in the glass. Or try both methods and see which one you prefer.

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