Prescription Julep

Before the julep was a cocktail, it was an Rx.

During the julep’s 19th-century heyday, the frosty drink accumulated a canon of riffs from brandy- to whiskey-based juleps to those that included fortified wines like sherry and madeira. This adapted version is a favorite of cocktail historian David Wondrich, who calls it “the tastiest Mint Julep recipe” he knows. Prior to the drink’s “cocktail” status, the julep was usually prescribed for medicinal purposes, this one published in Harper’s Monthly in 1857 as a tongue-in-cheek nod to its pharmaceutical origins.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces cognac
  • 1/2 ounce rye
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 5-6 mint leaves

Garnish: mint sprig and orange peel

  1. Add mint leaves and simple syrup to a julep tin or rocks glass. Lightly press mint leaves to release oils.
  2. Add cognac, rye and orange bitters and stir.
  3. Top with crushed ice and stir again.
  4. Top with more crushed ice to mound over top.
  5. Garnish with a mint sprig and an orange peel.