mint julep frozen yogurt

Happy Friday, friends and happy Derby weekend!

Living in this area of the country for my entire life, I’ve never really had a frame of reference for how big of a deal the Kentucky Derby is to people elsewhere. I’m assuming that most of you know what it is (a horse race!) and that some of you may even watch it if you happen to catch it on TV (it is only two minutes long!) and that’s about the extent of it. But around here, Derby is a big, flipping deal. Schools are closed today. When I worked for a marketing firm in Louisville, Derby week meant that every day at noon, our boss would whip out his credit card and take us all to a bar for the rest of the afternoon. We’ve lost count of how many fancy private planes (probably carrying celebrities and really, really, ridiculously rich people) we’ve seen fly over our house this week. See? Big. Deal. So big, in fact, I made you some dessert to celebrate.

frozen yogurt

Derby has been part of my life for as long as I can remember. Around here there is a whole big festival leading up to the actual race, and I’ve marched in the parade (color guard, represent!). I’ve cruised on the Belle of Louisville steamboat during the opening ceremonies. I’ve cheered on the sidelines of the Derby Festival Marathon. But even though I’ve always been involved in Derby, can you believe I’ve never actually been to the race? Heck, I’ve never even been inside Churchill Downs. I should really get to work on that. I could don a fancy dress, big hat and drink mint juleps all day. Doesn’t sound half bad!

frozen yogurt

If you’ve never had a mint julep before, be warned—it’ll knock you on your bum. A mint julep is about 99.9% pure bourbon with a splash of mint and sugar. I have to admit, bourbon isn’t my most favorite of liquors in mixed drinks (I’m a tequila and gin girl) but I do have a special spot in my heart for bourbon as flavor note in desserts. If you’ve never had a bourbon ball, chocolate bourbon pecan pie, bourbon chocolate chip blondies, or the classic Derby pie, you are seriously missing out. And I think this frozen yogurt is an awesome way to translate that bourbon flavor into a lighter, summery dessert. Plus, if you’ve ever had issues with homemade frozen yogurt or ice cream getting hard or icy, adding liquor is the trick. Since hard alcohol doesn’t freeze, a couple of tablespoons of it can really help keep the texture of your creation soft and scoop-able.  I use vodka as a flavorless addition in most recipes, but bourbon does the trick here and it tastes yummy!

frozen yogurt

I should probably make note that this dessert ain’t for the kiddies. I know most recipes that use booze say it’s fine because the  alcohol cooks off, but that is so not the case in this one. In fact, just for good measure, I tossed an extra glug or two straight into the ice cream maker. Boozy. And delicious. Perfect for your Derby party tomorrow. You are having a Derby party, right?

For what it’s worth, my Derby pick this year is Mylute. Only because I always pick a gray horse, and there isn’t a gray horse in the field this year (OH THE HUMANITY!). So instead, I’m going with Mylute, who is a beautiful, stand-out-of-the-crowd black horse.

My method is not precise. And has never won me any money.



Mint Julep Frozen Yogurt

Mint Julep Frozen Yogurt

Yield: 1 quart
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes

This mint julep frozen yogurt ain't for the kiddies. It is boozy and delicious and perfect for your Derby party.


  • 3/4 cup bourbon, divided
  • 1/2 cup fresh packed mint leaves
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups plain, lowfat yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup of the bourbon, mint leaves and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the mint has infused into the bourbon, about 10 minutes. For better minty flavor, try tearing or muddling the mint leaves before boiling to release some of the natural oils.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the bourbon mixture, yogurt and peppermint extract, if using (only use if your mint leaves are weak, the flavor of the mixture should just be slightly minty, but mint varies from batch to batch). Chill mixture until completely cold, about 2 hours.
  3. Process yogurt in your ice cream maker per the manufacturer's instructions, adding in the remaining bourbon just before it is finished. Or, if you don't have an ice cream maker, freeze in a large bowl, stirring every 10-15 minutes until frozen. This method will result in an icier frozen yogurt.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/2 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 60mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 0gSugar: 31gProtein: 5g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Have you ever had a mint julep before? Have you ever been to the Derby? Would you go with me and wear big silly hats and drink mint juleps?


  1. Hi Cassie, It is really nice to find and go through your blog. Like the recipe you have shared. Really a creamy and yummy. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Bucket List trip for sure! Confession: I’ve only ever had a virgin mint julep before. But I love the idea of sipping a boozy and minty drink while donning a big fancy hat.

  3. that looks great. i’m going to have to try that trick w/ adding a bit of booze to frozen yogurt in general.

    but that is a bourbon ball? like a rum ball w/ bourbon? no recipe for that?

    and I haven’t had derby pie either….

  4. There is something pleasingly romantic (in the Gatsby) sense about it, huh? Happy Derby-ing to you!

  5. I’ve never been exposed to the Derby! I went to a horserace when I was probably 8 years old, and that’s the extend of my experience!

  6. I’ve never had a mint julep but I’d love to give one a try! I actually don’t know much about the Kentucky Derby, even though I spent a lot of time right around your neck of the woods! And no, I’ve never eaten derby pie :(. I, uhh, don’t know what it is…

  7. I’m not a big fan of mint juleps, but I AM a HUGE Derby fan! My dad is in the horse-racing industry, and we always know someone with a horse running. Like the owners of Animal Kingdom, who are fantastic people. This year, I’m with you: Mylute all the way! We need a female jockey to win the Derby, and Rosie is awesome!

  8. We had a Kentucky Derby/anniversary party last year since the Derby fell on our five-year anniversary. We had people pick horses, had foam derby hats, and made mint juleps (not commonly found around here so I don’t think anyone had ever had one before). They weren’t bad, though probably not something I could drink all day! I’d love to go to the real thing, but only if I can get a seat in the stands. The infield looks a little too ‘crazy drunken college party’ for me. 🙂

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