You don’t need to be at Churchill Downs to enjoy the most exciting two minutes in sports. You can host your own Kentucky Derby party, but you can’t do it without some delicious cocktails and food.
We’re challenging you to create your own Kentucky Derby inspired cocktail and food menu. From mint juleps to derby day brownies, we’ve got the recipes you’ve been looking for. Here are the best sips and dishes to enjoy while celebrating the Run for the Roses this year!
There’s an unwritten rule of the Derby - all ladies must wear Kentucky Derby hats and have a mint julep in hand, no exception. This applies to Derby parties too, and you really can’t have a Derby Day party without mint juleps. This classic cocktail will make you and your friends feel as if you were right there at the tracks.
● 2 oz bourbon
● 1 oz water
● 1 tsp sugar
● 4 fresh mint sprigs
● Crushed ice
Rub 2 sprigs of fresh mint around the glass before adding bourbon, water, and sugar. Stir nicely until sugar dissolves. Add crushed ice and garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
Almost every Kentucky Derby cocktail consists of bourbon. But if you’re a bourbon lover, this one is a must as it doesn’t mix bourbon with any other spirit.
● 2 oz bourbon
● 1 oz grapefruit juice
● ½ oz honey syrup
● Grapefruit twist or pink peppercorns for serving
Pour bourbon, grapefruit juice, and honey syrup into a cocktail mixer. Fill the mixer with ice and shake before pouring the mixture into a martini or stemmed cocktail glass. Feel free to garnish with a grapefruit twist or pink peppercorns.
This is another one of the classics, but the recipe isn’t set in stone. You can play with the ingredients depending on your taste. Most people make the Steeplechase with bourbon, but you can also replace it with rum.
● 2 oz golden rum (or bourbon)
● 2 oz orange juice
● ¼ oz blackberry brandy
● ¼ oz orange liqueur
● 2 dashes angostura bitters
● 4 leaves of mint
Combine blackberry brandy, orange liqueur, and mint or leaves in a cocktail mixer. Shake the ingredients, before adding the remaining ones and shaking the entire mixture again. Strain the cocktail into an old-fashioned glass and garnish with mint leaves.
Pink Lily is favorite among those who don’t prefer bourbon, so it’s nice to have it at your Derby Day party. It’s sweet and refreshing, with just the right amount of alcohol.
● 1 ½ oz vodka
● ½ oz triple sec
● 1 oz sweet & sour mix
● 3 oz cranberry juice
● Lemon wedge for garnish
● Blackberries for garnish
Add all ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice. Stir to combine the ingredients perfectly. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a few blackberries.
If you don’t want to make a traditional open-faced Kentucky Hot Brown, you can go for party-sized sandwiches. This dish is all about the traditional sweet southern flavors, so it’s a no-brainer for your Kentucky Derby Day party.
● ¼ cup boiling water
● 1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
● 2 tbsp flour
● 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
● ¾ cup half-and-half
● 3 tbsp butter
● 18 slices of snack rye bread
● 1 onion (sliced into rings)
● 6 oz sliced deli turkey
● 2 tbsp fresh parsley (minced)
● 5 bacon strips (cooked and crumbled)
1. After preheating the oven at 350°, dissolve the chicken bouillon granules in water and set it aside.
2. Melt butter in a saucepan before adding flour and stirring until smooth.
3. Add cream and bouillon. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes until it boils.
4. Add cheese and stir until it melts, then remove from heat.
5. Place the bread slices on baking sheets. Layer them with turkey, cheese mixture and onion, and bake for 10-12 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with crispy bacon and parsley.
You can also use more bread slices to top the sandwiches, but be sure to broil them first to make the edges crisp.
This finger food is incredibly delicious and refreshing, and it goes perfectly with all those cocktails you’ll be drinking. Preparing it couldn’t be simpler, but be sure to count in the 24 hours it takes for the canapé dip to chill.
● 1 tbsp grated onion
● 1 tbsp minced chives
● 1 cup mayonnaise
● 3 oz cream cheese
● ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
● ½ tsp cider vinegar
● ¼ tbsp paprika
● 1/8 tbsp each curry powder, thyme, dried oregano, basil, dill weed, and parsley flakes
● 1 garlic clove (minced)
● 2 cucumbers (peeled and sliced)
● 1 loaf of white or rye bread
● Diced pimientos
● Diced dill weed
1. Combine mayonnaise, cream cheese, onion, chives, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and all seasonings into a blender. Mix until smooth. Put in a refrigerator to chill for 24 hours.
2. Cut out circles from the slices of bread using a biscuit cutter. Spread the chilled mixture over the circles and top with the cucumber slices. Garnish with dill weed and pimientos.
Here’s another tasty dip that’s very light, refreshing, and versatile. You can spread it on bread, but you can also use it as a cold dip for crackers, chips, French fries, and vegetables.
● 4 oz fresh goat cheese
● 4 oz cream cheese
● 2 tbsp minced parsley
● 1 tbsp mayonnaise
● ¼ tsp salt
● 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
● 1/8 tsp pepper
● ¾ cup cucumber (peeled, chopped, and patted dry)
● ¼ chopped green onions
1. Combine the cheeses, parsley, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and cayenne into a bowl. Beat the ingredients until smooth. Add cucumber and onion. Chill in a refrigerator for at least an hour.
2. Serve with crackers
You can also mix all the ingredients in a blender, but it’s not necessary. Also, you can add chopped spinach or any other vegetable you want, and even spruce it up by sprinkling crispy bacon on top.
Derby Day bourbon brownies are ideal for satisfying your sweet tooth. And, hey, they have bourbon, so they’re a must for your party.
● 1 box brownie mix
● 2 tbsp bourbon
● 3 tbsp softened butter
● 2-4 tsp Kentucky bourbon
● ¼ tsp vanilla
● 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
● Pinch of salt
1. Follow the instructions on the brownie box to prepare the mix before baking the brownies in a baking dish.
2. Once the brownies are baked, poke a small hole on top of each, before pouring the bourbon over until completely soaked in. Add more bourbon if needed. Let the brownies cool.
3. Beat butter in a blender, gradually adding powdered sugar, bourbon, vanilla, and salt.
4. Spread the frosting over the brownies. Garnish with sprinkles, chocolate chips, cinnamon, or anything else you prefer.
These delicious Kentucky Derby cocktails and dishes will make your party unforgettable. But you know what else your Derby Day party can’t go without? Proper attire. After all, it’s a celebration, so you’ll want to look the part.
Don’t wait until the last minute to choose your attire, because those cocktails and dishes won’t make themselves. Browse Gold Coast Couture Kentucky Derby hats today to find a perfect match for your party outfit.
Alycia Gordan is a freelance writer who loves to read and write articles on healthcare technology, fitness and lifestyle. She is a tech junkie and divides her time between travel and writing. You can find her on Twitter: @meetalycia