Starting Derby week off right with some party tips!
I love Derby because it’s glamorous, bourbon-soaked, and always falls on or around my birthday (my Derby Thirty this year!). I watch for the dresses and hats, the celebrities, and the singing of My Old Kentucky Home, which always give me chills! If you’re not one of the lucky ones attending Derby in person, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a festive celebration! Planning a Kentucky Derby party is much easier than you think: the theme and signature cocktails are already set.
If you’re staying in to watch the greatest two minutes in sports, here are some festive ideas:
|Lovely fascinator made by my awesome momma!|
The first thing you should have is bourbon. I’m sad for you and a bit disappointed if you don’t serve bourbon at your Derby party! You can drink it on the rocks like a true southerner, or make THE official Derby drink: the Mint Julep. I also recommend a Bourbon Freeze, especially if the weather is warm! Bourbon not your thing? Try the Oaks Lily– made with vodka, sweet & sour, triple sec, and cranberry juice! It’s the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, the race held the Friday before Derby Day. It’s all about the ladies!
We typically serve Kentucky-inspired dishes to stick with a theme:
A Kentucky Hot Brown is the most calorie-laden food on the planet. Delicious? Yes. Healthy? No. But when served in bite-size form, you avoid overindulging. Kentucky Hot Brown Bites recipe. Another Derby favorite is country ham and biscuits; bonus if the biscuits are homemade! Can you get more southern than grits? I don’t eat them often, but when Derby rolls around, it’s time to go big or go home. This Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole is a favorite in our house!
Don’t forget dessert! The traditional Derby dessert is Kentucky Derby Pie. Holy delicious. Can you ever go wrong with chocolate?! Another dessert I think would be perfect is this Melty Bourbon Pecan Pie from my friend Alex from Always, Al. She posted this around Christmas but I think it’s fitting for May!
We generally keep it simple and let each person wager $5.00, write down the names of all the horses, take our turn drawing names, and whoever draws the winning horse takes home all the cash. If you want more creative game ideas, go here.
There’s a lot room for creativity, but to get in the spirit, incorporate horses, red roses, mint julep cups or mason jars, and jockey silks. For inexpensive décor, buy toy horses and spray paint them gold. No one will know the difference!
Rock your hat, drink a mint julep (or five), and enjoy the first race of the Triple Crown! What are your Derby plans this year?