Chef Brando De Oliveira created this delicious dessert version of the classic mint julep cocktail that’s made with mint ice cream, a decadent caramel-bourbon sauce, and served with a shot of bourbon on the side. What could be better for serving at your next Kentucky Derby party?
- 1 ½ cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 10-12 whole crackers)
- 4-6 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ gallon mint ice cream
- 1 cup caramel
- Shot of bourbon, plus more for serving
- Mint leaf, for garnish (optional)
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crumble the graham crackers if you haven’t already, and place them in a food processor with a metal blade. Process until fully pulverized and then pour in the melted butter and mix together. Press firmly into a 12-inch pie pan and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. And then let cool. Scoop the mint ice cream into the pie crust and smooth out. Place in the freezer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, combine the caramel and bourbon in a saucepan and simmer for a few minutes until the caramel is completely melted. (Be careful when adding the bourbon as it does create a small flame.) When ready to serve, heat up the caramel-bourbon sauce and pour over a slice of the pie, adding a scoop of ice cream if you'd like. Serve alongside a shot of bourbon and enjoy!
17 Delightful Mint Julep Desserts For Derby Day
What's even more fun than watching horses run really fast? Eating ice cream with bourbon in it.
Mint julep cream pie
Mint Julep – is it just me or is that incredibly fun to say? We love it so much “Julep” was on our list of possible “J” names for Jettie. Which she could have totally rocked. Pretty and sweet (just like the cocktail) yet packs a punch (just like the cocktail).
You could certainly say the same thing about this pie. From appearances one may think “oh, cream pie.” But one bite in and you’ll know you’re eating something reserved for adults only. It is named after a cocktail after all. One that is loaded with mint and bourbon. I happen to love me a good mint julep – I may even love this pie more.
If you are a Kentucky Derby fan you know why I have mint julep on the brain. It is the official drink of the derby and quite frankly can be a little on the strong side. This pie doesn’t disguise the taste of bourbon, but the sugar and cream provide a buffer that the cocktail lacks. Perfect for anyone who wants to partake in the fun but does not particularly like a stiff drink. Boozey pie on the other hand…who doesn’t like that?
Traditionally my mom makes a Derby Pie on race day. It’s very rich, very chocolatey and very good. I think this minty, creamy drunk pie would be the perfect partner next to it. And let’s face it – you can never have too much pie!
Bourbon Caramel Brownies + A KENTUCKY DERBY GIVEAWAY!
Let me tell you about my FAVORITE holiday of the year. It involves Spring weather, show-stopping hats, bourbon, and very fast horses! It’s The Kentucky Derby and just around the corner!
Here’s why the Derby is so so great whether you’re in Louisville Kentucky or not – it’s not just the greatest two minutes in sports – it’s an all-encompassing celebration of Southern food, cocktail, and style. Y’all, we’re lifestyling!
While flocks of people to Churchill Downs every May for Mint Juleps, horses, and Southern-style hat fashion, for years I’ve been celebrating the Derby with my dear Kentucky friend Whitney. We’ve gone full out with hats and floral head pieces, piles of chicken, rows and rows of Mint Juleps, potato salad, betting, and of course…. we’d all rowdy cheer for the horses, but only after singing My Old Kentucky Home. It’s like, for this one day a year, if you have a Mint Julep in hand, you’re an honorary (very proud) Kentuckian.
We have very good reason to celebrate the 144th Kentucky Derby this year. We’re alive and thriving, reason number one! Reason number two, there’s a incredible amount of iconic Southern food to celebrate whether or not we’re at Churchill Downs cheering. Consider the Kentucky Derby your next party inspiration because it’s not just a race, it’s totally a lifestyle!
We’re making brownies today to celebrate the upcoming Derby and a little more caramel never hurt anyone, I’m sure of it!
This year, in very DREAMS-COME-TRUE fashion, I’ve partnered with The Kentucky Derby to bring you an approachable at home Derby-inspired menu. I’m inviting you to create your own Kentucky Derby inspired dish, share it with us and have the chance to WIN A TRIP TO THIS YEAR’S KENTUCKY DERBY! Specifically:
- Two tickets to the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 4 and the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 5, 2018
- One hotel room in Louisville for three nights
- $2,000 gift card to be used toward travel
I want all of you to live your best Kentucky Derby lifestyle wherever you are and one very lucky person will win a trip to the Kentucky Derby and… since this feels like a once in a lifetime adventure – I want all of you in on this!
Upload your original photo to your Instagram account featuring your Kentucky Derby inspired meal or recipe. Caption must include the hashtag #DerbyDishContest. Photo and caption must be posted between April 10th at 12:01am EDT and April 18th at 11:59pm EDT. The winner will be chosen at random and notified on Instagram!
For our Derby-inspired menu I made:
Grilled Pimento Ham and Cheese Sandwiches! Think, melty pimento cheese, crunchy grilled bread, and salty ham in one bite!
Sweet Potato Potato Salad with Yogurt and Mint! A very playful spin on traditional potato salad that’s lightly sweet, tangy and bright with a hint of that Derby’s iconic mint.
and, of course it wouldn’t be the Derby without a classic Mint Julep cocktail. Find that official cocktail, here!
But let’s get to making these brownies because friends… there is bourbon… there is caramel. If you make these – I swear, it’s like we all win.
Brownies are, no matter how many fancy baking techniques you might learn, always one of the most satisfying things to make.
It starts with a homemade double boiler: a pan of shallow simmering water, and a heat proof bowl for butter.
To the butter we’ll add semi-sweet chocolate chips.
If you don’t have chips, but you have a bar of semisweet chocolate you can coarsely chop…. go for it! There’s no wrong way to chocolate here.
We’ll also add a good dose of unsweetened chocolate to melt along with the butter and chocolate chips. All of the chocolate will add richness and balance.
Stir until melted and glossy. It’ll only take 5 minutes or so.
A double boiler help ensure that the chocolate won’t burn or seize as it melts. The steam heat is more gentle and guarantees a good melt.
To the melted chocolate and butter we’ll add a cup of granulated sugar.
The mixture may seem grainy and it’s stirred together. Not to worry! That’s normal.
Whisking in two eggs, one at a time, will solve that grainy problem.
The eggs will smooth the mixture to thick and glossy.
Set the chocolate mixture aside, and we’ll stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
It’s time for all that glossy chocolate to make its way into the dry ingredients.
Fold the batter until there are no hidden pockets of flour or cocoa powder and then spoon it into a parchment lined square pan. Set aside because it’s time to whip up a caramel swirl!
I’ve found that if you add straight caramel to these brownies, they’re disappear into the brownies, offering sweetness, but no distinct swirls. We’re in it for the swirls.
We’ll add some stability to the bourbon caramel so it has something to sit with in these brownies. Cream cheese, powdered sugar, and add egg yolk will help support the caramel swirl.
Start by whipping together the powdered sugar, cream cheese, and egg yolk. The mixture will be thick, but smooth.
This caramel is made from scratch by simmering water, sugar, and corn syrup until the sugar begins to brown and… you guessed it – caramelize! Once the mixture simmers to a deep amber color, we’ll remove it from the heat and quickly whisk in butter and heavy cream. The fat is what gives caramel it’s lusciously pliable richness. And! To finish off the the hot caramel: a generous pinch of sea salt and a big splash or two of bourbon.
You may remember making caramel for the Salted Caramel Cheesecake Pie. It seems intimidating but if you can boil water, you can boil sugar for caramel – I promise.
The caramel needs to be made ahead of time and allowed to cool before it whipped into the cream cheese mixture.
The whole concoction will be pale and thick, undeniably delicious… and we’ll add an extra splash of bourbon because we’re in it to win it.
Now, this is a generous amount of caramel sauce for this proportion of brownies. This isn’t a mistake. We’re living large.
Spoon the caramel on top of the unbaked brownie batter.
And use a butterknife to gently swirl the two together.
I like to leave big streaks between the two batters so all of our hard work and bold flavors shine through. We’ve come so far let’s not muddy these brownies.
The brownies will bake in a low oven for about 45 minutes – until the jiggle has settled in the center and the top looks dry.
Now the hard part. The brownies need to cool to room temperature before they’re removed from the pan and sliced.
Warm brownies are a fight with to slice and we don’t want to fight.
Slice into generous nines or smaller sixteens. Whatever feels right for your gathering.
Look at this swirl, maintained!
These brownies are dark and fudgy, the caramel has depth with more than a trace of bourbon.
I might suggest making a double batch! They’ll be hard to keep at a Derby party. In my experience, anything bourbon related flies off the buffet spread… and since there’s chocolate involved too? These will be a goner.
I genuinely, sincerely, truly CAN NOT WAIT to see your Kentucky Derby inspired recipes. Please share all the goodness with us on Instagram using the hashtag #DerbyDishContest.
And don’t forget we have two deliciously savory recipes for you to find inspiration from too!
And, of course, Chef Danielson’s very official Derby Menu is here with loads to drool over and daydream from.
Why Replace Bourbon, Anyway?
There are many reasons why someone may decide to replace bourbon. These are some common ones:
- Alcohol-Free Diet: While not everyone is strict about alcohol in cooking, some people consume no alcohol at all, and that includes sweet and savory dishes. In these cases, using a non-alcoholic choice is the only option.
- Flavor: Bourbon is a strong spirit, which means that not everyone will like it. While it may be dissipated when you cook, the flavor may still be too strong for some individuals.
- Cost: As with any other spirit or alcohol, the cost may be high depending on what brand you choose. Still, when you are cooking and baking, buying bourbon may be out of the price range you want.
Perfect Mint Julep Recipe
- Author: Miss AK
- Prep Time: 10 minutes + 2 hours cooling time
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes (plus 2 hours cooling time)
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1 x
This is the perfect mint julep recipe. Muddled mint, bourbon, and mint infused simple syrup are served over crushed ice creating a well-balanced cocktail.
For the mint syrup (makes about 8oz or enough for about 16 (8oz) cocktails)*
A poke is a classic dessert that seems to have been around forever! The poke cake I grew up with usually made an appearance around the 4th of July. It was often made with strawberry jello and topped with whipped cream. It was simple and festive and everyone loved it!
These days, a poke cake can be filled with anything. This cake is filled with sweetened condensed milk, but I have also used caramel sauce in my poke cakes. Depending on the recipe, hot fudge sauce, strawberry sauce, pie filling, pudding, tres leches sauce can all be used in your cakes!
- ▢ 6 mint leaves
- ▢ 1 tablespoon granulated superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery), or turbinado sugar
- ▢ 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) cold water
- ▢ Ice preferably crushed
- ▢ 2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) bourbon
Recipe Testers' Reviews
On the coldest day of the year--the coldest day of many years--I made a mint julep for the first time. My reckoning was that the bourbon, even over ice, would be a warming addition to the evening (it was.) I pulled out the cocktail muddler I inherited from my father, which rarely gets used, and I muddled the mint leaves and sugar.
I used turbinado sugar instead of plain granulated. The recipe said that I could, and I hardly ever find a reason to use my stash of the stuff, so I did. I think I did a fine job on the mint part, as I could smell the aroma of mint in my kitchen even while the leaves remained intact. I don’t think I did as good a job with the sugar, as crunchy sugar crystals made their way up through the straw as the drink was consumed. The straw was a beautiful bent glass one that I inherited from who-knows-where and which I've never had an opportunity to use—at least not one that seemed worth dirtying it. This was an appropriate opportunity.
Apart from some crunchy sugar (granulated would surely dissolve more effectively, and superfine would be even better), this was a fine and satisfying drink, even on a single-digit day. My bottle of single-barrel Kentucky bourbon, which is rarely touched, is now down by 2 1/2 ounces. Although I might wait until Derby Weekend to make another mint julep, I'll surely be using it for this purpose again.
For some reason, bourbon has been my drink of choice this winter. I've been trying various cocktails and finally decided that I needed to add the mint julep recipe to my long list of drinks. I always associate it with the derby and springtime, but to me, bourbon is somewhat warming and seems appropriate for winter.
I've tasted a mint julep a couple of times before, and had neutral feelings about it. The tastes that I've had were always a variation that someone thought was an "improvement" on the original. They weren't bad but didn't leave me wanting more. They usually involved cutting back on the sugar, adding too much sugar, or adding too much bourbon in relation to the other ingredients. After making this and enjoying every last drop, I now know what people have been raving about!
I recently read that even good "sipping" whiskey needs a little water or ice to bring out the best in it. I think this drink does that very well. The flavor of the good bourbon that I used still shines through, but is nicely enhanced by the mint, sugar, water, and ice. This will be on the Derby Day party menu this year.
You really can't go wrong with a classic mint julep recipe. This was cool, refreshing, and perfect for a summer garden party or after-work sipper. It reminded me of the horse races in Virginia, where this bourbon and mint cocktail is found in the hands of every hat-wearing lady and bow-tied gentleman.
This is a classic mint julep recipe. I really liked the use of turbinado sugar. Two simple tips, which will make this as good as possible: When muddling the mint leaves, twist and press gently. You don't want to pulverize the mint, you just want to release some of the oils from the mint.
Next, please, at the very least, use a straw to sip this way, you'll be drawing your favorite bourbon through the crushed ice, mint, and sugar, giving you a DELIGHTFUL experience.
In the south, the mint julep is perhaps considered a spring and summer drink, but for us Canadians, it's the best cure for the many polar vortexes that we face. It was only Tuesday and with the mercury dipping below 30°C, I thought it fit to make myself a stiff one after I shivered and shook myself home from work. I must say, this drink did warm me up and I quite enjoyed the fresh mint flavor.
I'm not a bourbon drinker, but tonight I enjoyed that glass in front of the fire. The crushed ice sort of slowly melted into the bourbon and the flavors of the mint came through with every sip. Will definitely offer this drink to my guests. I used regular store-bought mint and crystal scotch glasses. I had no silver mint julep spoon with me, so I used an old-fashioned bright blue plastic straw. Seemed just fine. (But I still love my Prosecco.)
I just had to test this mint julep recipe. It brought me right back to living in the South, sitting on a porch on a hot summer evening. The proportions of this cocktail were good for me, but some people might like it a little sweeter. I might use simple syrup in the future just for ease of construction, and the granulated sugar didn't immediately mix into the drink as it should.
This is supposed to be a STRONG drink, so although 2 1/2 ounces whiskey may seem like a lot, once it's mixed with the crushed ice (I don't care how you do it, but it NEEDS to be crushed) the alcohol cools and mellows and mingles with the mint just wonderfully.
First off, I'd like to say that I licked my muddler clean. Mint sugar equals yummy. As much as I like turbinado sugar, though, I wouldn't recommend it in this mint julep recipe. The grains just didn't want to dissolve, so the drink ended up tasting like straight bourbon.
For my second attempt, I used ultra-fine granulated sugar, and this worked perfectly. Regular granulated sugar works as well, it just takes a little more stirring time. My first sip was on the strong side, but as long as you resist the urge to slam the drink (always my first impulse), the ice will start to melt and mellow and meld the drink into something wonderful.
This is a recipe near and dear to my heart as my family has a tradition of an annual Derby party. To that end, my mother collected sterling mint julep cups of which I now own 6 dozen, and I continue the tradition since she's gone. There's nothing more beautiful than to see these beauties shiny on a silver tray with an outer layer of icy frost.
This is the first recipe I've ever seen that makes them individually as we have always done WITHOUT sugar syrup. I always have a few friends come early to the party and start the muddle production while I follow behind with crushed ice and Maker's Mark. It's always got to be Maker's Mark in my tiny world. So this recipe didn't disappoint. It's perfect and delicious.
The only change I would make to this one as written is to use powdered sugar which melts into the liquor and doesn't leave any grainy, sugar feel in the mouth. And I invite any testers who are near Virginia Beach this year come May 3 to stop by, have a ham biscuit, some crab pie, and that good old fashioned pimento cheese with a mint julep. Just bring your wager for the hopeful winning horse!
It's funny because when I smell fresh mint, the first thing I think of is a refreshing mint julep like this one. I blame it on my college years in Kentucky, the glorious land of bourbon. But seriously, this is one of those traditional cocktails that I truly believe will never go out of style. By traditional, I mean it has a special glass to be served in, is classically served with crushed ice, and it's the official drink of one of the classic sporting events, the Kentucky Derby.
I've made mint juleps in the past with simple syrup, but I like the ease of just using granulated sugar here. Saves time overall and is just as delicious. Some mint juleps are made too sweet in my opinion, but I thought the ratio of ingredients here was spot-on.
Truth be told this was my very first mint julep and dare I say it was dangerously yummy. I used conventional spearmint leaves and a good quality, but affordable bourbon.
What I learned in this first go at muddling the leaves was to "take it easy." Focus on pressing down but don't twist the muddler or you risk shredding the leaves. This was the folly of my first attempt, and the green bits in my teeth were a telltale sign of my flawed technique. Experienced mixologists must be chuckling at my revelation, but as with all cooking and entertaining endeavors, finesse once again does create a superior product, and this recipe test reinforced that. This Brooklyn girl just got southern schooled.
For mint julep purists, this iconic Southern drink is as simple as it gets. Sugar, water, mint, and good bourbon. There's a healthy amount of bourbon in this drink, so be warned. It was simple to muddle the sugar and mint.
Since I didn't have crushed ice on hand, I put a couple cups of ice cubes in a heavy resealable plastic freezer bag and bashed it with a rolling pin. I added the semi-crushed ice and poured the bourbon over the top and voila! A drink reminiscent of big porch swings and summer. For my own taste, I found this drink to be very strong so added a little more water and a few more mint leaves. While not quite as the recipe intended, it was very minty and refreshing.
When I make this drink again, I'd recommend using superfine or even granulated sugar as the turbinado sugar never fully dissolved.
Like most traditional cocktails, this is a simple recipe. What it boils down to is the proper ratio of spirit to sweetener, dilution, and flavoring. This recipe nails the ratio perfectly for my taste. It makes a drink that's boozy enough and with a lovely hint of mint and the right amount of sweetness. I love how the drink isn't completely mixed up and you get to adjust how much sweetness or bourbon you get in every sip.
Assuming one is a total novice and never made anything like this before, here are a few things I've learned: The recipe tells you to use a muddler to crush the mint leaves. For my taste, just gently crush the leaves to bruise them well. Crushing to a pulp makes for an oxidized and harsh drink. We're also told to add the water and stir—I'd stir for about 20 seconds or so this gives you a partially dissolved sugar with some crunchy bits that I love. And garnish with a mint sprig on top this gets you a whiff of fresh mint with every sip.
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A good drink taken to the next level when made with “Sonic ice” for those lucky enough to have access. Use lots of ice — you can mound it over the top of the cup — it won’t dilute the bourbon, just makes it really cold. And don’t forget the mint on top as a garnish — you want to smell that wonderfulness with every sip of bourbon. I grown my own mint (Kentucky Colonel) primarily for this indulgence!
You are soooo right, hilltopgal! We always had Kentucky Derby parties and made a run to Sonic beforehand to pick up bags and bags of that ice.
Just wondering, could you give the turbinado a whirl in the blender etc. to break it down for better dissolving? It really sounds like the best choice of the sugars, to me, so it’s a shame not to use it if you can.
Mint Julep Bread Pudding
- BREAD PUDDING:
- 6 cups challah bread, cut into 1 inch cubes, stale is best
- ½ cup raisins
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups half and half
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 3 tablespoons mint simple syrup
- MINT SIMPLE SYRUP
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease or spray a 9 inch square baking dish. Place the bread cubes evenly into the dish. Sprinkle the raisins evenly over the bread.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the half and half, milk, brown sugar, bourbon, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Whisk everything together until it is well combined.
Pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread and raisins. Push on the top of the bread cubes with a fork to make sure they are thoroughly soaked with the egg mixture.
Bake for 50 minutes or until thoroughly set and golden brown. Can be served either warm or cold.
Place the water, granulated sugar and mint leaves in a small saucepan. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes.
Let the mixture steep in the saucepan for 15 minutes. Pour the syrup through a strainer to remove the leaves. Additional syrup can be kept covered in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, bourbon and 3 tablespoons of the mint simple syrup. Mix together throughly.
You can drizzle the glaze over the entire bread pudding or serve it on the side.