“Run for the roses” with an easy and festive Mint Julep Fruit Salad that’s perfect for Derby Day!
Whether you’re hosting a Kentucky Derby party, a bridal shower, or any other spring gathering, your guests are going to love the fresh lime-and-mint-infused simple syrup that dresses this sweet bowl of goodness (and yes…you can spike it with a dash of bourbon)!
Since fruit salads seem to make an appearance at just about every potluck, brunch, or party this season, I thought that it would be fun to dress up the standard dish with a bit of a Southern kick!
Inspired by the classic cocktail, this Mint Julep Fruit Salad is an easy twist on the traditional side dish. And nothing says “fun” like a shot of bourbon, right?!
Let’s get this party started!
This particular salad is special because of the simple syrup that lightly coats the salad.
The dressing adds a hint of sweetness and a boatload of fresh flavor to the fruit, since it’s infused with fresh mint leaves, lime juice, and lime zest. The addition of bourbon at the end is completely optional, but it definitely adds a lovely, festive touch!
If you’re looking for a kid-friendly fruit salad, you can omit the bourbon entirely. If you like just a very subtle taste of bourbon, I suggest using 1 teaspoon of the alcohol. And if you’re really looking for a party, add as much bourbon as you like!
I think 2 teaspoons of bourbon is perfect for a light touch that you can still taste, but 1 tablespoon works well too for a bit more punch.
The Mint Julep Fruit Salad would be lovely served alongside a tray of our favorite Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders, with a batch of Derby Day Bourbon Brownies or my grandmother’s Bourbon Balls for dessert!
Go big or go home, right?!
We love the Kentucky Derby around here, and I can’t think of a better way to welcome spring or to celebrate with friends. So grab your big hat and your favorite party dress — the bourbon is optional, but highly recommended!
MINT JULEP FRUIT SALAD
Mint Julep Fruit Salad
Yield 6 cups
Whether you're hosting a Kentucky Derby party, a bridal shower, or any other spring gathering, your guests are going to love the fresh lime-and-mint-infused simple syrup that dresses this sweet bowl of goodness (and yes...you can spike it with a dash of bourbon)!
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime zest
- 1 cup loosely-packed fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1-2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)
- 4 cups halved green grapes
- 4 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
- about 24 maraschino cherries, drained from a jar
Optional garnish: whipped cream
Prepare the Dressing:
- In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together sugar, lime zest, mint leaves, and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, stir in lime juice and bourbon. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
- Pour mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a jar or other similar airtight container. Discard solids. Refrigerate dressing for at least 4 hours.
Prepare the Salad:
- Gently stir together grapes and kiwi in a large bowl. Slowly drizzle about ¼ cup of dressing over top of the salad (or more, to taste), and toss to coat. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with cherries and optional whipped cream, just before serving.
Serving Size 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0.4 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Sodium 5.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 40.6 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugars 34.4 g
Protein 1.3 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.