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Are You Hosting a Kentucky Derby Party?

We Have the Ultimate Guide to Make Your Derby Party Perfect!

In case you have yet to hear, the Kentucky Derby takes place on the first Saturday in May in Louisville, Kentucky. This is a time for a grand celebration with over-the-top fashion, lots of roses, and Southern food to die for. The Kentucky Derby may only last a few minutes (that’s why it’s called “the most exciting two minutes in sports”), but the event’s festivities last all day. So here’s what you need to celebrate Kentucky style. 

Dress to Impress for your Kentucky Derby Party

The Kentucky Derby is famous for its fashion; your party should be no exception. Encourage your guests to dress in their best Southern attire, including seersucker suits and sundresses. Men may opt for a brighter, more colorful suit (pastel, maybe?) or stick with seasonal favorites with Derby-specific accessories, like a needlepoint belt or a Derby pocket square. And ladies, pair your favorite bold hat or fascinator with a bright dress or printed ensemble. Then, make it a contest – award prizes for the best-dressed or most creative hat. 

Roses Everywhere

The Kentucky Derby is often referred to as the “Run for the Roses” because the winning horse is draped in a blanket of roses. So, roses are a must-have for the perfect Derby décor. Use roses as the inspiration for your centerpieces, table setting, and other decorations. In addition, you may want to create a photo backdrop using paper roses or real ones for your guest to take pictures in front of. 

Here is where the fun begins. Every great party needs food and drinks. So we have put together the ultimate menu for your Derby party. 

Entrees for the Perfect Kentucky Derby Party

The Kentucky Derby is very much a Southern tradition, so it’s only fitting to serve up some Southern-inspired dishes at your party. Think classic comfort foods like fried chicken, mac and cheese, and honey butter biscuits. 

Hot Brown Party Rolls 

These delightful rolls are packed with Gruyere cheese, turkey, and bacon and topped with a brown sugar-garlic-butter spread. They are easy to make and just as easy to pull apart and share. 

Honey Ham Sandwich 

Buttery homemade biscuits and herby honey butter make these sandwiches a show-stopper. 

Pork Tenderloin Sliders 

Slice your tenderloin on a large cutting board, and set out fresh rolls and condiments. Then, let your guests build their own! 

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches 

Cucumber sandwiches are a southern touch of elegance at any event. Light, refreshing, and delicious. 

Side Dishes for the Perfect Kentucky Derby Party

Crudites Platter 

This delectable platter is the perfect addition to the spring derby. The array of colorful veggies is a beautiful balance to the irresistible Hot Brown Party Rolls. 

Deviled Eggs 

No Southern table is complete without deviled eggs. Add a bit of pickled jalapeno for a mild heat and spice up your dish. 

Pimiento Cheese 

Another Southern staple that is perfect for your derby table; Serve with crackers or use as a topping on other dishes (like burgers). 

Chipotle Black-Eyed Pea Salad 

A light, perfectly seasoned side dish 

Desserts for the Perfect Kentucky Derby Party

Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie 

Ah-bourbon and pecan pie are a match made in heaven. However, this pie takes the combination to a new level of deliciousness! 

Derby Tartlets 

From their candied walnut crust to their boozy chocolate filling, these sweet treats will be the hit of your Derby party. 

Kentucky Bourbon Pie 

Fashioned after George Kern’s Derby Pie recipe, this pie combines chocolate, bourbon, and pecans and has earned its spot as one of the South’s most beloved desserts. 

Cheddar Cheese Straws 

Cheddar Cheese Straws make the perfect grab-n-go treat—savory, rich, and little peppery kick. 

Best Cocktails for a Kentucky Derby Party

And no Derby party is complete without cocktails. Highclere Castle Gin has a few ideas aside from the traditional bourbon treats.


Her Ladyship (2)

Melon Mint Gimlet 


Classic Martini 

Her Ladyship

Experience the ultimate indulgence in sophistication with a Highclere Castle Victorian Cigar, the perfect complement to your cocktails and horse racing festivities. Immerse yourself in the grandeur of the Derby while savoring the smooth and luxurious smoke of this ultra-premium cigar.  

And no Kentucky Derby party is complete without a little friendly wagering. Set up a betting pool where you and your guests place bets on their favorite horses. Keep the bets small and have a small prize for the winner. 

Fashion, food, music, and drinks are the foundation of every perfect Kentucky Derby party. What a great way to celebrate this iconic American tradition. So grab your best hat, pour a Highclere Castle melon mint gimlet, and get ready for a day of fun and festivities!