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Kentucky Derby Party Ideas

Kentucky Derby Party Ideas: Southern Style at its Best!

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Kentucky Derby Party Ideas Large brimmed hats, bow ties, Seersucker suits, Kentucky Derby...here we come! Of course, not everyone will be able to make it to the track for triple crown hopes and the social event of the year ... that is unless you bring a little Kentucky to your home party!

A Kentucky Derby party is fun affair. If you're looking for new party ideas that appeal to style and grace, nothing fits the ticket better than a Kentucky Derby party. Indoors or out on the lawn, it’s an event when your guests get into it!

Kentucky Derby Party Ideas

Kentucky Derby Party

Hats Off to Hats On!

When it comes to a Kentucky Derby Party, a little planning goes a long way. Because I have a friend who hosts an annual neighborhood Kentucky Derby party, all the guys and gals know that a large brimmed hat and a bow tie are proper attire.

The ladies in the neighborhood get together the week prior to the party to decorate their hats, drink wine, and have a little "girl" time. It’s like a pre-party, party.

If it’s your first time to host this event make sure to send invitations well in advance. Since the attire is part of the fun, place a line on the invitation that reads something like "Bow ties and brimmed hats are the dress of the day. Southern Style is here to stay." Send your invites two or three weeks in advance.

Kentucky Derby Party Shop

Kentucky Derby Party Ideas: Whiskey Tasting

Making a Whiskey tasting part of your Kentucky Derby party ideas, is a way to add another dimension to your party. Guests with love it!

Kentucky Derby Party Ideas Whiskey Tasting It’s no secret that bourbon (a type of whiskey) and Kentucky have a rich history. What better way to celebrate all things Kentucky than a Bourbon or whiskey tasting?!

If you’re among the many who have always thought that "tastings" belong to the family of wines, you’re in for a treat! While other liquors may tout luxury brands, none compare to the luxury (or price tags) of fine whiskey. Believe it or not, fine whiskey can sell for thousands of dollars a bottle!

Of course, you’re hosting a party, not a free-for-all! There are several amazing whiskeys available for reasonable prices.

Here’s What You’ll Need for a Whiskey Tasting:

  • Unsalted, plain crackers: Just like in a wine tasting, you’ll want plain crackers available to cleanse the palate between tastings.
  • Room temperature spring water: Tap water has too many impurities that can affect the flavor. A few drops of spring water added to your glass will increase the aromas. Adding cold water will depress them.
  • Whiskey glasses: The tulip shaped glasses work best as they help contain the aromas.
  • A selection of 3 to 5 whiskeys: Need help selecting just the right whiskeys to sample? We discovered that Whiskey Magazine has some really great tasting tips and resources for discovering and purchasing a variety of Whiskeys. Use their directory tool to find specific distilleries, award winning whiskeys, and prices.

Kentucky Derby Party Ideas: Place Your Bets

There’s no gamble when it comes to the popularity of Kentucky Derby gambling games. Whether you play for prizes or each guest places a dollar in the kitty, fun is a sure bet! It simply adds excitement to the party!

The Kentucky Derby is a race of the finest horses in the sport. The race may only last two minutes, but the party starts well before.

Of course, at the actual racetrack, more than a few bets are placed. It wouldn’t be a Kentucky Derby party without a fun-filled Kentucky Derby Betting Game!

Here are two ways to play Kentucky Derby betting games at your home party:

Kentucky Derby Party Games #1:

One idea is to place the names of each horse into a bowl called the "Horse Lottery".

Have each guest place a dollar into a separate bowl and draw a name from the "Horse Lottery" bowl. The person holding the paper with the winning horse at the end of the race, takes the lottery!

You can also play this Kentucky Derby party game without any money at all. The host can provide a gift in lieu of any guests dropping dollars into the lottery bowl.

Kentucky Derby Party Games #2:

Ever heard of "football squares"? You can create a similar game for your Kentucky Derby party. Create a large poster with a square for each horse’s name. Each guest places a fixed bet into a kitty. Guests write their name under any horse they favor winning.

Guests can place more than one bet and multiple guests may write their names under any particular horse.

Divide the entire kitty among the people who placed their names under the winning horse’s name.

Kentucky Derby Party Ideas: Food, Drinks, Decorations!

Looking for the triple crown when it comes to food, drinks, and Kentucky derby party decorations?

Southern cooking is the cuisine of the day. For a main course and hearty appetite pleaser, we suggest Brunswick Stew, a traditional Southern dish that’s easy to prepare. For a lighter fare, try Cucumber Tea Sandwiches and other easy sandwich recipes.

For desserts, think southern! Pecan pralines, ambrosia salad, chocolate bourbon balls, and homemade chocolate chip cookies!

Drinks are easy. There are three drinks that are a must at a Kentucky derby party: homemade lemonade, Arnold Palmer (a drink that’s 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 iced tea), and the famous mint julep! Here's a recipe:

  • Mint Julip
  • 3 to 4 springs of fresh mint
  • 2 1/2 ounces of Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of water
Crush (or muddle) the mint leaves, powdered sugar and water into the bottom of a Collins glass (short glass tumbler). Add crushed ice and pour the whiskey over the top. Add more crushed ice and a sprig of fresh mint to garnish. Serve with a straw.

Kentucky Derby Party Ideas: Decorations

One important aspect of the party decor has to be a television set. You’ll want your guests to watch the race! If you’re hosting an outdoor party, set the television on the porch or under shade so it can be easily viewed.

There are lots of really interesting Kentucky Derby party decorating ideas out there and adding these special touches really pulls the theme together.

The easiest thing to do is to purchase themed plates, napkins, and table settings.

Creating your own flower arrangements? Try a wreath in the shape of a horse shoe for the front door! Or, create a garland of roses like the one the winner receives after the race.

For a more simple touch, red roses are very popular for Kentucky Derby parties because red is the color given to the winner. You may also select spring potted plants, Golden Plumes (the Kentucky state flower), hanging plants, or vases or spring colored flowers.

Feel like breaking out the fine china and white tablecloths? Go right ahead. The Kentucky Derby is somewhat of an upscale event, and over-the-top Kentucky Derby party ideas are right on course!

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