Kentucky Derby Parties - Enjoying Kentucky Derby Food And Attire

Whether this is your first ever Kentucky Derby Party, or you’re known as the place to be to watch the race if you can’t actually be at Churchill down when the horses barrel through the gates, we’re here to share with you both the latest trends in Kentucky Derby Party themes as well as the most traditional must have mint julep and other must-serve recipes.

What Food To Serve At A Kentucky Derby Party

The menu at any traditional Kentucky Derby party is going to consist primarily of southern soul food and other traditionally southern flavors. Kentucky Derby parties can have a pot-luck sort of theme, where it might be fun to assign different dishes to party-goers. Derby hosts may prefer to offer an hors devours spread at the party, or offer up an elegant sit down meal before the race begins, with party themed libations available throughout.

There are literally dozens of recipe’s that can be served at a Kentucky Derby party, so we’ll get you started with a couple of the must-haves, and then you’ll be all set to build upon your menu from there.

Derby Themed Hors Devours

Bear Cheese - Beer Cheese is one of the simplest concoctions on the earth, as well as a well-known southern delight, and Kentucky Derby party tradition. The recipe is far from steadfast, so as you familiarize yourself with it, you’ll have the freedom to make it your own.

Bear Cheese Recipe

  • 1lb Extra-Sharp Cheese
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese (Works best at room temperature.)
  • 1/2cp pale ale beer
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • Splash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Splash of Tapatio (if you’re going for a spicy Beer Cheese)
  • Cayenne to taste

Cooking Directions

To make this awesome cheese dip, which can be served with veggies or with chips or crackers follow the directions below:

Grate the cheese while drinking half of a beer. Place the cheese, along with the remaining half a beer, or a new half can of beer if you drank much more than half, in food processor, or mixing bowl with all of the other ingredients and mix until smooth.

Taste the concoction you’ve come up with, and add anything that may need to be added to achieve the desired flavor. Then refrigerate until the party, this recipe can be made a day in advance.

Kentucky Derby Desert

One for the Roses III - Whether you’re attending a Kentucky Derby party, and looking for something delectable to bring, or you’re hosting the party, and looking for the perfect dish to finish it off with, the One for the Roses chocolate and nut filled pie, flavored with bourbon and served warm, accompanied by deliciously cold ice cream is going to be a surefire hit.

One For The Roses III Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbl-spoon bourbon
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cp chopped walnuts
  • 1 8-inch pie crust

Cooking Directions

  1. Turn the over on to preheat at 350 ºF.
  2. Layer the bottom of the pie shell with chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Mix butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Then mix in the flour.
  5. Beat the eggs slightly and then add them to the creamed mixture.
  6. Stir in the bourbon.
  7. Pour the above filling into the pie shell (on top of the chocolate chips and nuts)
  8. Bake the pie at 350 ºF for 30 to 40 minutes.

Kentucky Derby Party Drinks

The Mint Julep - The Mint Julep, an alcoholic drink that’s made with Bourbon whiskey, is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It’s actually a really simple drink to put together.

Basic Mint Julep Ingredients

  • Mint Leaf
  • Bourbon
  • Sugar
  • Water

Since we’re making Derby Mint Juleps, you’ll use spearmint for your mint leaf, which is traditional in most of the southern states, and specifically in Kentucky. Any Kentucky Bourbon can be used. Serve the drink over crushed ice, in a traditional silver Mint Julep glass, and you’ve got it, you’re serving the utmost traditional Kentucky Derby drink.

Any ‘Mint Julep’ glass will do, however, if you’re going for ultra-classy and memorable, actual Churchill Downs Mint Julep silver cups can be purchased on the Kentucky Derby website.

If you’re looking to freshen up this fabulous drink, you can make frozen Mint Juleps as well.

Oaks Lily - This is the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks. To mix an Oaks Lily, grab a tall glass and fill it with ice and add the following ingredients.

Oaks Lily Ingredients

  • 1 oz./Shot  Vodka
  • 1 oz. Sweet & Sour Mix
  • 3 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • Top with Triple Sec

What To Wear At The Kentucky Derby Party

The theme of a Kentucky Derby party generally revolves around everything southern. Therefore the attire of choice at a Kentucky Derby party for the ladies is the Southern Belle look and the menfolk dress as Southern Gentlemen. Big hats are a hit at Kentucky Derby Parties.

In these more modern times however, the trick is simply to dress for spring. Wear bright and fun colors, and choose your attire either from the 1920’s era, or from today’s latest fashions. The Kentucky Derby, and sister event the Kentucky Oaks are both very dressy and tradition-steeped events.

Hats Are Quite The Thing - Ladies have been known to decorate their head wear with flowers, ribbons, bows, and feathers. The male attendee’s tend to wear 1920’s inspired hats, that are usually a solid color, and far less adorned.

Fun Kentucky Derby Party Traditions

Rose Garlands for the Ladies

In 1896 Derby winner Ben Brush was given a floral arrangement of white and pink roses since that time, it’s become tradition for ladies to receive garlands made of roses at the Kentucky Derby.  In fact, Col. Lewis Clark named the rose as the Kentucky Derby’s official flower during his time as President of Churchill Downs.


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