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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Prescription Julep: an antique Derby Day cocktail

They’ll be off this Saturday… the horses in the Derby, that is.  Are you ready for an older (from 1857) twist on the classic Mint Julep?  Look no further, the Prescription Julep may be just what you need to cure what ails you.  Last week on Twitter, @pdxCocktails (Sylvan Thompson) recommended a Julep recipe from Dave Wondrich’s great cocktail book Imbibe! that contained the intriguing combination of Cognac and Rye.  The recipe was on page 155 of Imbibe! and was written in the form of (you got it) a prescription.  You’ll find a simple recipe below, but see Dave’s book for the full treatment.   

This recipe below is made exactly like the classic Mint Julep, only you use two kinds of liquor.  Wondrich (a purist) uses sugar in lieu of syrup, so if you’re feeling ambitious, go for it.  The lazy, like the author of this post, will use syrup.  You can serve it in the traditional silver cup, or you can use an Old Fashioned glass (see photo).  Pre-chilling the glass in the freezer or with ice is a wise move.  Grab your muddler and get busy polishing up your Mint Julep technique for Saturday.  (If you don’t have a muddler, use a spoon or any other blunt instrument that will fit in your mixing glass.)  Remember, a Julep is to be savored. When you think your glass is empty, let it rest a few minutes and take another sip.  It will surprise and delight you.

Prescription Julep

6-8 Mint Leaves
½ oz Simple syrup or 2 sugar cubes (or 1 tsp. sugar) and water (Wondrich says ½ oz)
1 ½ oz Cognac or good Brandy
½ oz Rye Whiskey

You will build this cocktail in the glass.  Place the mint and simple syrup (or sugar and an ounce of water) into your Julep cup or an Old Fashioned glass (if you’re using sugar, add a teaspoon of water).  Muddle 15-20 times to dissolve the sugar and to release the oil and aroma of the mint.  Pour in the Cognac and Rye and stir.  Fill the glass with crushed ice and stir briskly until the outside of the glass frosts up.  Garnish with a sprig of mint.

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