Southern Classic Recipes for a Winning Kentucky Derby Party

Giddy Up, it’s almost Derby day and my dinner club is hosting a gathering in honor of the upcoming race. We’re sharing Southern classic recipes for a winning Kentucky Derby Party.

There are so many great recipes here and I think you’re going to love them!

This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something, I make a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for supporting my blog.  You can read my full disclosure here.  

If you missed our tablescapes on Thursday, be sure and pop over to see lots of ideas and inspiration for hosting your own Derby Day party.

6 table setting ideas for a Kentucky Derby Party

monthly dinner club

If you are new here, let me explain about my dinner club.

About 2 years ago, I joined 4 other blogger friends and we started a virtual dinner club.

Every other month, we have a theme, and we each create a tablescape to go along with our theme.

We also create a menu to go along with our theme and we take turns with each of the courses, and share a drink, appetizer, side dish, main entree and a dessert.

I love creating themed tablescapes and seeing what my friends come up with for their table designs.

And there are always so many great recipes, so you don’t want to miss that!

A Thrifted and Budget Friendly Table for the Kentucky Derby

I’ve been wanting to create a tablescape for Derby Day for a couple of years, so I started keeping a look out for things I could use for this table when I have been thrifting.

I had so much fun putting this table together with thrifted items and things I already had on hand.

white dinner plate stacked with white salad plate folded napkin on top and gold horseshoe on blue and white check placemat and mint julep cup beside plate for Kentucky Derby place setting

I hope you find inspiration and get ideas for creating your own Kentucky Derby tablescape.

You can see all of my friends table ideas linked at the bottom of that post.

Southern Classic Recipes for a Winning Kentucky Derby Party Menu

Traditional Mint Julep Recipe with a Lemonade Twist
Simple Savory Crockpot Bourbon Meatballs
The Best Kentucky Hot Browns Sandwich Stack with a Twist
Pecan Crusted Oyster Casserole
The Best Blonde Brownie Recipe

a few fun facts about the Kentucky Derby you might not know…

Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky and is traditionally held the first Saturday in May.

The Kentucky Derby is one of three races in the Triple Crown along with Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes.

Kentucky Derby is also referred to as ‘The Run for the Roses’ because the winner is awarded a blanket sewn with over 400 fresh red roses.

The first race was held in 1875.

And the last fun fact is this year’s Kentucky Derby winner will receive $3.1 million dollars!!  Last year the winner received $1.86 million. 

Traditional Mint Julep Recipe with a Twist

Ingredients for mint julep kentucky bourbon mint simple syrup lemonade ice cubes julep cup

This month I was responsible for the cocktail for our menu.

Obviously, this was a no brainer.

Of course, you have to serve mint juleps for a Kentucky Derby party.

Did you know the Mint Julep is the iconic signature drink of the Kentucky Derby?

I have to be honest, I am not typically a fan of bourbon.

So, I started thinking of ways to tone down the strong flavor of the bourbon that I was opposed to and create my own version of the classic mint julep.

Since mint is an essential ingredient in the classic cocktail I made a mint simple syrup instead of using the traditional simple syrup using fresh mint leaves.

Then lemon flavor came to mind and I thought it would be a great compliment to the bourbon and mint flavors, so I made lemonade ice cubes.

I have to tell you I was smitten after the first sip!

I share the recipe for making your own mint simple syrup and the lemonade ice cubes in the recipe post.

The lemonade cube melting into the bourbon and partnered with the mild hint of mint from the simple syrup was the perfect combination and exactly what I needed to become a fan of this iconic cocktail.

Whether you’re just watching the race or hosting a Kentucky Derby party, this refreshing cocktail is sure to be a crowd pleaser and one of your favorite cocktails.

So, grab some julep cups or a rocks glass and enjoy the official drink of the derby during the big race.

mint julep cocktail in silver julep cup with mint sprig garnish on white platter with lemon slice and mint sprig

dinner club friends recipes

I hope you enjoyed our Southern classic recipes for a winning Kentucky Derby party.

I would love to hear if you try any of the recipes.

Be sure and check out all of the recipes by clicking on the link at the bottom of each photo.


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  1. Yum! So many delicious looking recipes. I can’t wait to try your cocktail, Michele!

    1. Thank you! And yes, so many great looking recipes to try!

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