why, a mint julep. I do declare!

You don’t have to be in Kentucky to experience Kentucky Derby excitement. Personally, I plan on throwing a party to celebrate the famous horse race under palm trees in California. Here are my tips for giving your party an authentic Derby Old South spin no matter its location.

  • Mandate hat-wearing on your Evite invitation — the Derby is known for its parade of hats.
  • Decorate with horse-themed décor, or go for rose décor, a more subtle nod to a race sometimes referred to as the “Run for the Roses.”
  • Play bluegrass music in honor of the Bluegrass State.
  • Tap a friend to act as bookie and have your friends bet as many times as they like in a winner(s)-takes-all pool.
  • Serve a light lunch of Southern specialties: chicken salad sandwiches (chopped up apples and fresh tarragon will give them a fancy spin), cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, deviled eggs and maybe even a hot batch of sausage balls. For something heartier, there’s always the Derby favorite: burgoo stew. And for dessert, opt for Derby pie (essentially pecan pie with bourbon and chocolate chips) or bourbon balls (since I’m evidently obsessed with foods in ball form).
  • Stock plenty of bourbon and mint because mint juleps are extremely important.
  • Turn on the TV and play that race!