The mint julep, like many other Southern foods and drinks, is uniquely American. While the origin story of the cocktail is highly contested, we know two things for sure: it was invented in the American South, and it tastes really good on a hot day.

The mint julep recipe is pretty simple -- although it looks like it, this isn't a frilly cocktail. The simple combination of mint, a hint of sugar, bourbon and ice is most delicious, and definitely most authentic, when served in a frosty pewter cup. If you want to make great mint juleps, get yourself some pewter cups. The mint julep has been the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby since 1938. We, however, think this iconic American cocktail deserves attention on the other 364 days of the year as well, so we pulled together some of our favorite mint julep variations for you today.

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