Before the Civil War made foreign products hard to come by in the South, French cognac was the preferred liquor in a mint julep. This recipe first appeared in the 2012 SAVEUR 100, with the article Cognac Cocktails.
2 tsp. superfine sugar 6 mint leaves, plus 4 sprigs for garnish 2 oz. cognac, such as Martell Cordon Bleu
Stir sugar and 1 tbsp. water in a highball glass or silver julep cup until sugar dissolves. Add mint leaves; gently crush with a spoon. Fill glass with cracked ice and pour in cognac; stir until chilled, about 15 seconds. Fill glass with more ice; garnish with mint sprigs and two straws.