How to Host a Kentucky Derby Party
The Kentucky Derby is this weekend and many people will host a party leading up the biggest horse race of the year. The race itself only lasts about 2 minutes but the time leading up to the race is also a lot of fun sipping on a Mint Julep - the official and most popular derby drink.
If you're hosting a Kentucky Derby party for friends and family, here's a few tips to make sure you've got a winning lineup of fun.
Don't skimp on the bourbon. Whether you're making a Mint Julep or a straight up neat or on-the-rock drink, you need a quality bourbon. I like a higher-proof such as Knob Creek, Ezra Brooks, or Woodford Reserve. Here's the Mint Julep recipe my buddy and horse racing enthusiast Scott Smith uses:
2 oz bourbon
¼ oz simple syrup (several generous dashes of mint bitters (may need to order on-line…hard to find)
8 mint leaves + 1 sprig for garnish
Ezra Brooks website give the details on the muddling. Gotta muddle, folks! "Add the mint leaves and simple syrup to your cup (preferably a metal Julep cup) and gently muddle. Add the bourbon and pack it with ice. Stir or swirl to incorporate all the ingredients, then add more ice and garnish with a sprig of mint." Ezra Brooks Bourbon
Smith's Mint Juleps are so good, he's named the Smitty's NO HORSE $#^t Mint Julep. Here's how to make them [includes pics]
For those who'd rather have a non-alcohol drink, a southern sweet tea is a great idea.
Dressing up in your best derby attire makes for a fun party. Whether it's a horse-themed shirt or a great looking hat, it'll add to your party's atmosphere. Bright colors and bold pastels are essential. Did you know those large and extravagant ladies hats are called fascinators?
Southern Food is a must. Grab a southern cook book and have some fun. Google "southern food" and grab some good ideas. Maybe throw some bourbon-glazed meatballs in a slow cooker? The obvious easy (lazy) choice for derby party food? A bucket of good ol’ KENTUCKY Fried Chicken!
Kentucky Derby Horse with a local connection. Two Phil’s, the 2-year-old colt from Kentucky raced in September 2022 at Canterbury Park for the Shakopee Juvenile Stakes and trotted-away with an impressive WIN!
Horse racing betting board. Gambling isn't for everyone but a betting board adds a lot of excitement to the actual race. You can simply draw the horse names out of a hat or draw up a simple betting pool board like this:
Don't go overboard with the entry ticket fee. We usually do $5 or $10.
The world-wide sports spectacle that is the Kentucky Derby is set for Saturday, May 6, 2023. Post time is 5:57 p.m. CDT (but tune-in earlier for impressive pre-race festivities).
Good luck and have fun!
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