Two minutes—the Kentucky Derby, in early May, might be over before you even finish making your first mint julep. Avoid such disasters and prep the drinks early (and invest in some mint julep cups if you want to go all out). Invite your friends over and throw a party with these recipes, from dainty cucumber dip to irresistible chocolate-pecan pie (a race day must-have). Don’t get mired in the fusty hats, the prickly roses, the cheesy song. Focus on the food—and for a few minutes, the horses—and then again on the food.
The iconic drink of the Kentucky Derby (properly served in an iconic silver julep cup), this minty bourbon cocktail actually started out as a form of medicine. So have another, and drink to your health! Naturally, you should use Kentucky bourbon if you can. Get our Mint Julep recipe.
Godinger Silver Mint Julep Cup, $16.45 on Amazon
The traditional beaded silver cup adds a lot of class to any cocktail.
Something to munch on while the ponies are racing—before and after, too—this light and creamy dip started out as a sandwich filling invented by Jennie Carter Benedict at her Louisville, Kentucky, restaurant Benedict’s. Our version loosens it up with sour cream, and also uses green jalapeño sauce instead of the more traditional green food coloring. Get our Benedictine Dip recipe.
Another Louisville invention, sweet and spicy Henry Bain sauce was concocted by a waiter at the Pendennis Club, and it’s so delicious we can’t just serve it on the side, but slather it all over our beef tenderloin for a glaze that coats every bite. Get our Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Henry Bain Sauce recipe.
Close things out with a decadent chocolate pecan pie; it’s a sure bet and a winner every time. Get our Chocolate-Pecan Race Day Pie recipe.
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