Wake and Bake Julep
Updated: Apr 22, 2021
The Wake and Bake Julep is the winning cocktail I created while at Dusek's Board and Beer in Chicago for the annual Uppers and Downers festival. Sponsored by Stumptown and Infinium spirits, the competition required me to incorporate Stumptown's Cold Brew Concentrate and limited my use of spirits and liqueurs to those found in the Infinium Portfolio.
As this was my first cocktail competition, I was especially cautious in my approach. I wanted something fun and unique that I could pull off and present with minimal effort considering I had no idea what my setup would be. I immediately ruled out anything shaken as I didn't want to have to deal with dumping ice, cleaning tins, etc. I settled on a built drink that I could pre-batch, which led me to riff on one of my favorite cocktails, a Mint Julep.
There are at least three different recipes for this cocktail floating around the internet, some of them totally inaccurate, so I felt it time to set the record straight.
Wake and Bake Julep recipe
1.75 oz Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
.25 oz Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
.25 oz Black Cardamom & Macadamia Nut Syrup*
.25 oz Branca Menta
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Glass: Julep tin
Garnish: Mint sprig & candied macadamia nuts
Build in tin. Add crushed ice and swizzle until frost forms on the tin. Top with crushed ice and insert straw. Garnish with candied macadamia nuts and a mint sprig near the straw to ensure aromatics with each sip.
Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
As I was confined to the Infinium spirits portfolio, the only whiskey I had access to was Templeton Rye. After winning the competition, Liquor.com contacted Dusek's to ask if they could feature the cocktail, but replace the Templeton with Teeling Irish Whiskey which was launching in the US. Given a choice, I'd use Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon for this drink, but technically just about any whiskey will work.
Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
I used Stumptown for the competition, but any quality concentrate will do. Leave it uncut and undiluted.
Black Cardamom and Macadamia Nut Syrup*
This syrup is well worth the prep. Macadamia nuts are rich and fatty, providing tons of depth in a drink served on crushed ice. It also works particularly well with more chocolatey cold brew coffees. The black cardamom pairs perfectly with the coffee as well as the whiskey, providing pleasant baking spice.
I do not suggest using the lighter, more floral green cardamom as a substitute here – the spicier, smoky notes of black cardamom are what you really want.
I will say, If I could go back in time and change something, I would replace this with a black cardamom macadamia nut orgeat.
I chose to eschew the mint leaves and instead opted for Branca Menta. This way, I was able to get the expected minty notes into the tin as well as bump the drink into “cafe correto” territory. Amaro and coffee almost always work together.
Angostura ties the whole thing together, adding necessary spice and confectionery notes.
A sprig of mint is crucial for the nose as it echoes the Branca Menta and ties the drink back to a julep.
Candied Macadamia Nuts
These candied nuts give off a heavy cardamom note on the nose and make for a tasty snack. This garnish also ensures you aren't wasting the pricy, delicious nuts used during syrup prep.
*Black Cardamom and Macadamia Nut Syrup
250g macadamia nuts
5g black cardamom seeds
300g demerara sugar
The peel of 1 whole orange, minimal pith
1. Toast the macadamia nuts at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit) for 7-10 minutes, or until evenly browned. The idea is to roast some of the oily fat from the nut to make a cleaner syrup. Under-roasting will lead to a cloudy syrup with noticeable fat and oil floating in it. Over-roasting will burn the nut and cook too much of the fat off. The key is to roast the nuts to provide just enough fat to cut any acidity in the cold brew.
2. Toast the black cardamom seeds on low heat until aromatic, being mindful not to burn them.
3. Combine the nuts, cardamom, orange peel, and water. Simmer at a low heat until about half of the water has evaporated, and then add the demerara sugar. Once the sugar has completely melted, remove from heat and allow to cool.
4. Strain and keep the nuts for garnish. [Yields about 10oz syrup]