How to Throw the Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party from How to Throw the Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party Slideshow

How to Throw the Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party Slideshow

Full Story
How to Throw the Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party

Flickr / Bill Brine / CC BY 4.0

How to Throw the Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party

But, because the Kentucky Derby is such an institution, you can’t simply warm up some frozen appetizers, set out a case of beer, and watch casually. Oh, no. You need to make your Kentucky Derby a watch party that’s for the ages. And the best way to do that is tap into the actual event itself.

The Invitations
shutterstock

The Invitations

The Kentucky Derby is a classic, traditional event. So e-vites or text messages simply will not do. Etsy has a variety of rose- and horse-inspired paper invitations to send out in the mail. We love this navy and white design and this classic golden horseshoe motif.

Dress Up
shutterstock

Dress Up

One simply cannot show up to the Kentucky Derby in jeans and a T-shirt, so you should expect the same for your guests. Have them dress in their most dapper clothing, with the men wearing 1920s-inspired suits and fedoras and the women wearing brightly colored cocktail dresses. Of course, you also need to encourage your female guests to wear the most outrageous hats they can. The more feathers, bows, and flowers, the better!

Décor
shutterstock

Décor

The winner of the Kentucky Derby is draped in a blanket of roses, and the race itself is nicknamed the “Run for the Roses.” So, of course, this beautiful bloom is a must-have. Decorate liberally with red roses and deep red tablecloths and napkins. To balance out this stunning bright red, have your plates and serving platters in bright white. Don’t be afraid to get some horse décor as well. In the weeks leading up to the Derby, scour secondhand stores and flea markets for wooden and brass horse statues to really complete your table.

Gambling
shutterstock

Gambling

The Kentucky Derby race itself only lasts for a few short minutes, so you’ll need plenty of other activities to keep your party going. In the spirit of Churchill Downs, set up your own mini-casino. Bet on horses before the big race and have a craps table, some bingo, and of course a rousing game of poker.

Bourbon Cocktails
istock

Bourbon Cocktails

Even if you can’t necessarily make this year’s $1000 mint julep, your Kentucky Derby party would be nothing without some good ol’ Kentucky bourbon (and a more budget-friendly mint julep). Sip on some old fashioneds, whiskey sours, and a bourbon hot toddy. If you’re looking to get more creative with your whiskey, consider a bourbon colada or bourbon cider.

Appetizers
iStock

Appetizers

Take your menu inspiration from the 143rd Kentucky Derby, where guests will be dining on fresh pickled spring asparagus and pimento cheese. Consider other classic Southern dishes, such as fried green tomatoes, spoon bread, and fried chicken drumsticks.

Main Menu
shutterstock

Main Menu

Once again, serve a similar menu to what the true Southerners will be eating at the Kentucky Derby. Consider a ham dish, such as pimento cheese biscuits with country ham. Of course, you also want to have something high-class, such as a delicious grilled beef tenderloin (which will be served cold at the Kentucky Derby) or a classic New York strip steak.

Don’t Forget Dessert
Courtesy of the Kentucky Derby

Don’t Forget Dessert

We don’t want to say that the Kentucky Derby is all about bourbon, but it is certainly our favorite part of this kind of party. Skip over typical desserts and serve up some warm, comforting bourbon cocktails with super sweet twists. We love this bourbon caramel coffee and a Kentucky hot cocoa straight from the Derby’s bourbon ambassador. If your guests need something to munch on that’s sweet and satisfying, consider a bacon bourbon caramel popcorn (which will double as a perfect race time snack).

The Big Event
  1. Flickr/Bill Brine/CC BY 4.0

The Big Event

For the most exciting two minutes in sports, be sure that your guests are actually focused on the television. The post time for the 143rd Kentucky Derby is 6:34 p.m. this Saturday. In anticipation of the event, make sure your TV is tuned to NBC and that you’ve arranged your living room in a theater-type configuration so that everyone has a great view.

You've just watched...

Derby

How to Throw the Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party Slideshow