Mint Julep Gelato

When it comes to alcohol, I appreciate many of the fine beverages out there, but I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, if I had to pick one, I’m a whiskey man. For me, the tough decisions are single malt scotch or a good bourbon. Well when I originally made this dessert, the choice was simple: bourbon! I live in horse country, and while I truly couldn’t care less about horse racing, the charm of the mint julep had won me over. So today, something to help the bourbon lovers out there keep cool: Mint Julep Gelato!

For the uninitiated, a julep is a pretty simple drink but people can get pretty wound up about the particulars that go into making it. At the core, you’re supposed to have bourbon, fresh mint leaves, sugar, and water, where the mint is oh so carefully muddled just right to allow the mint oils to infuse into the drink without turning it into a bruised, messy mush. When I prepare a julep for myself, it definitely doesn’t quite fit the mold of an authentic julep (I tend to skip the water and go light on or skip the sugar 😮 ), but there’s something magical about that bourbon and mint combination.

Given how much I enjoyed my previous bourbon-based ice cream, it seems high time for another. This gelato, unlike my sipping juleps, is a bit more julep like (Hey! Sugar!). The preparation is very much the same as a mint ice cream, but given the high alcohol content (recall: alcohol won’t freeze in your freezer), the texture is denser and more gelato like. The resulting gelato was delicious–very strongly flavored with sweetness, mint, and the dark, smokey bourbon profile. This is all lightly tinged with the green and amber hues of both fresh mint and bourbon.

Over-thought plating gone awry. Like a root beer float…but a julep float…that looks like a weird napkin stuffed in a shot glass…lol, woops!

The base mint ice cream was derived from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop. This is also one of my entries in You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Frozen Desserts, an event focused on the cold desserts that we all flock to during the summer. While the deadline is near, its still not too late to join in the fun, so any slow pokes out there, hurry up and get churning!

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups mint leaves
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup bourbon

Begin by warming the milk, sugar, and 1 cup of cream in a saucepan. Add all of the mint leaves and lightly crush them so as to help their oils to diffuse into the liquid. Press them in so that they stay submerged, cover the pan, and remove from the heat so that this mixture can steep for about an hour.

Once time is up, as soon as you take the lid off of that saucepan, you should be hit with this fantastic, sweet, minty aroma. I was amazed at the powerful flavor this took on, even at this step. Just sample the liquid to see what I mean. Anyways, once you’re done fawning over this, strain the mixture to remove the mint leaves (and squeeze them to get every last drop out of them) and get the liquid back in a saucepan.

Set a bowl up in an ice bath, pour in the remaining 1 cup of cream, and set a strainer over it. Meanwhile, rewarm the minty milk and in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until the color lightens.

Temper the eggs with a bit of the hot milk and then pour the yolk mixture into the hot, mint-infused milk. Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, figure around 5-10 minutes. Once sufficiently cooked, pour this through the strainer into the cream, and whisk it well. After a moment, pour in the bourbon (any earlier, and you’d cook off the alcohol and where’s the fun in that?!). Whisk to incorporate and cover the bowl with plastic wrap pressed right against the surface and transfer this to the fridge for 4-6 hours.

Once time is up, get your ice cream maker ready according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Churn the custard for about 20 minutes and then transfer it to an airtight container in the freezer overnight to give the gelato time to firm up a bit (it will need it!).

When you finally do dig in, consider not plating in a way that looks as silly as this, lol (and you have no idea…the mess that ensued…). But more importantly, enjoy!

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22 Responses to “Mint Julep Gelato”

  1. Emiline Says:

    Wow! What a great idea. I love this. Definitely going to have to try this sometime. I love my liquor.

  2. Ivy Says:

    Another wonderful creation.

  3. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) Says:

    Delicious! Would be a great for a Kentucky Derby party.

  4. Meeta Says:

    you really know how to tempt us all! i’ll convert into a bourbon/whiskey woman anytime for this.

  5. Dee Says:

    I’m a single malt girl all the way, but I am seriously tempted to give Bourbon some shelf space just for this and the Vanilla Bourbon Butter Pecan Ice Cream.

  6. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy Says:

    Hehehe! I’ve had my share of plating mishaps. You’re braver than I am to post one!

    I’ve never been able to appreciate scotch or bourbon. the whiskeys. I’m a vodka and rum girl, but this ice cream could convert me. It looks so creamy and wonderful!

    I always put a splash of some kind of alcohol in my ice cream purposely to keep it from getting too hard.

  7. Peter Says:

    Whenever Mint Julep pops up, I think of 007 and Goldfinger!

    Your presentation here is “hot damn”…Mike the Food Stylist’s in da haus!

  8. Jude Says:

    Ice creams based on cocktails is good stuff. Very interesting…

  9. Joanne at frutto della passione Says:

    Ice cream + cocktail = Yes Please!! That just sounds so refreshing! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Deeba Says:

    Now that’s one neat post with the julep sitting pretty atop the glass! Great flavours you got here Mike…I love the way you’re enjoying this! YUM!!

  11. grace Says:

    i don’t put much stock in this “eating first with your eyes” business, so your presentation doesn’t deter me one bit. all i need to hear are the words “whiskey” and “gelato” and i’ll eat what you put in front of me. :)

  12. heather Says:

    oooh. i have been wanting to make just this! i am going to try it as soon as i finish the ice cream i already made :) yummo… and, i love bourbon too! mmmm

  13. maybelles mom (feeding maybelle) Says:

    wow, this looks so good. i am going to make my husband put the ice cream maker in the freezer.

  14. noble pig Says:

    Oh how perfect is this! Love it, love it. You just changed derby day forever!

  15. katie Says:

    If you marry me I’ll take you to visit my friend in Spain – he collects whiskey – and whisky… over 500 different ones at last count….
    Can I have this after the peanut butter/chocolate tort?
    Do I need help?

  16. pam Says:

    Sounds fabulous as usual! I’ve got to my entry posted!!!

  17. Tartelette Says:

    I can’t read anymore….I am crying I don’t have this in front of me rigt now! Superbe!

  18. Rachel Says:

    This sounds absolutely divine. I may be breaking into my husband’s bourbon for this.

  19. Icecream. « adventures of a foodie from the boonies. Says:

    […] Mint julep gelato from Mike’s Table […]

  20. growitgreen Says:

    I love gelato, but it is difficult to find a shop that makes it in my small town in S.C. so, I have to make it myself when I get a craving. I appreciate all of the recipes I can get my hands on. Check out this “cool” article about gelato at

  21. Pages tagged "mint julep" Says:

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  22. John Says:

    Has anyone here tried this recipe or the afore-posted vanilla bourbon butter pecan ice cream?

    3/4 of a cup of bourbon was enough to leave us wheezing over the ice cream maker after a whiff of this potent freezable.

    Even once frozen, 3/4 cup of bourbon + 3 cups of dairy = gelato that is the culinary equivalent of icy-hot… the strange sensation of mint, then followed by hot bourbon several seconds later as the gelato warms in your mouth.

    I would recommend maybe 1/4 cup of bourbon.

    The gelato did have the marvelous elastic, creamy, almost glutenous consistency, which probably was helped in large part by the alcohol.

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