Skip to main content

Kentucky Derby Day At Home

Fast horses. Tiny riders. Flashy hats. Get ready for the most exciting two minutes in sports.

Running for the Roses, Churchill Downs [Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina, via Wikimedia Commons]

So you can’t be at Churchill Downs for Kentucky Derby Day. That’s OK, bring the party home to you.

First Things First

You will need Mint Juleps.

Mint Juleps, the only cocktail to serve at a Derby Day party. And only Kentucky bourbon will do. Extra points for serving your Mint Juleps in a frosty silver goblet.

Tip from the Bar: Muddle mint leaves and sugar, use finely crushed ice, and a generous sprig of mint for garnish. Go the extra quarter-mile and trim straws so they just slightly stick above the rim. When guests sip from the short straws, they’ll take in the minty aroma. It’s a thing.

In the Kentucky Kitchen

Some born-and-bred-in-Kentucky dishes for the Derby menu.

Henry Bain's Sauce

This sweet, tangy, spicy sauce is best served with beef tenderloin.

Henry Bain's Sauce has been a Louisville tradition since 1881. It was named after its inventor, the head waiter at Louisville's Pendennis Club.

Hot Brown Turkey Sandwich

Another cornerstone of Louisville cuisine.

This legendary open-faced sandwich is made with toast topped with juicy roast turkey, tomato slices, crispy bacon, and a blanket of Cheddar-Parmesan cheese sauce. Slip it under the broiler until the cheese is golden brown.

Derby Dessert

Dessert on Derby day means one thing: a rich chocolate-nut pie flavored with Kentucky bourbon.

Photo by Deb C

The original version of this pie is trademarked and fiercely protected by its inventors, but there are several unofficial versions of it: Run for the Roses Pie, Eighth Race Pie, and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie.

More recipes for your Kentucky Derby party.

Hat Gallery

Don’t mess with tradition. Break out the hats! And remember, you don’t get points for subtlety. There is no such thing as too big, too bold, too elaborate, or too outlandish.

View this post on Instagram

#races #derbyhats

A post shared by Tabitha Doddridge (@dontcallmetabby) on

View this post on Instagram

TerrillHats. Cousin Lyndsey @ DERBY.

A post shared by Amy Terrill Derby Hats (@terrillhats) on

Carl Hanson

About Carl Hanson

Carl will eat that. Share with him @CarlNo9 on Twitter.