Jason Littrell and JBird Cocktails’ Prescription Julep


Derby Day might be over, but luckily for us, juleps are still on the menu. Today we bring you the recipe for the classic Prescription Julep, which dates back to the 1800s.

The drink was first printed in an 1857 issue of Harper’s Monthly and since then, has been modified and tweaked into various variations. “Some people says it goes back to 1803,” bartender Jason Littrell says. “The history is really fuzzy, so it’s impossible to say where it actually came from.”

Littrell is the co-director of beverages at JBird Cocktails, a speakeasy on the Upper East Side. The San Diego native was previously behind the bar at The Randolph and picked up his craft when cocktail maven Sasha Petraske came in as a consultant.

According to Littrell, the original drink was probably made with bourbon. Littrell, however, uses cognac. “The construction is exactly the same as a traditional julep except it’s made with cognac and rye,” he says. “It’s spicy but it’s still sweet. The rye really counter-accentuates the age of the cognac. It’s just cool and really delicious. We wanted to do something really diverse and approachable.”

Here’s the recipe:

Prescription Julep

1.5 ounces Pierre Ferrand Cognac
.5 ounces Rye Whiskey
7 mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon Demerara sugar syrup
Splash of Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum


Place mint leaves in the bottom of a frozen julep glass and add syrup. Press the leaves lightly and add crushed ice to 1/3 full. Then pour in rye and add ice to 2/3 full and agitate. Add cognac and ice to fill and agitate. Add more ice to compensate for dilution and to make a cone shape on the cup. Garnish lavishly with mint sprig tops. Splash Jamaican rum on top of the mint and crushed ice and serve.