As we get closer to KDPT ~ that’s Kentucky Derby Party Time ~ Kentucky Derby party preparations are in high gear. I shared with you a couple of days ago some initial Kentucky Derby Preparations. We may not be in the Kentucky Bluegrass, but I still want our home to look festive and special for the Kentucky Derby party. I wanted to show you how our house looks and where our guests will have dinner after the race the tables. Although this year is our “off-year” for our Derby party, it’s so fun to look at last year’s party decorations. Most of the decorations I created were new last year, so I know that I’ll use them again. I can promise that next year, I’ll come up with some new Kentucky Derby Party decorations, but the Mint Julep recipe will stay the same. I thought I would show you our Pre~Race and Dinner menu also ~ just in case you needed some inspiration.
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Remember this shabby looking horse?
Now the horse looks like this ~ sitting pretty on our living room mantle. Black spray paint spiffed him up in no time. Then I nailed him to a board to stand up and arranged green moss at this feet.
I made him a pretty blanket of red roses just like a real Kentucky Derby winner using faux floral roses from Hobby Lobby and burlap ribbon I already had. All I had to do was pull the roses off the stems and hot glue them to the burlap.
Remember these Derby party supplies?
The ribbon, letters, and triangles now look like this. I love this banner. I used the black & white check ribbon throughout my Derby decor. After spray painting the die ~ cut letters, I hot glued them to the triangles.
I cut slits in the triangles and ran the ribbon through. Be sure to start with the last letter in your word so you don’t cut the ribbon until the end.
I have plenty of the red net ribbon so I gave my horse from Wayfair his own pretty bow.
This year we are having our main meal after the Derby. When our guests arrive, they are treated to a mint julep. I made a pint of mint simple syrup a few days ahead for the party.
Mint Simple Syrup
Makes 2 cups
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups cold water
1/2 bunch mint sprigs
Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Turn the heat to medium~high. Stir the sugar/water with a heat~proof spatula until it comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat off. Muddle the mint leaves between your hands to release the aroma and essence and drop into the water. Allow to cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any leaf pieces. Store in an airtight container until needed.
We put the mint simple syrup in a plastic squeeze bottle to squeeze into the mint juleps. It will keep in the fridge indefinitely.
Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
This is Sweet Shark’s perfect start to Kentucky Derby Party Day. We buy the crushed ice at Sonic for about $2.79 a bag.
Makes 1 drink
1 1/2 ounces bourbon (Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Old Charter)
1/2 ounce mint simple syrup
mint leaves, for garnish
Fill glass with crushed ice. Pour in the bourbon and simple syrup. Pour in 2 ~ 3 ounces water (This blends the drink and mellows it.) Serve with a straw and mint leaves for garnish.
Pre ~ Race Menu
After our guests are served their mint julep, they can enjoy one of these pre ~ race goodies. Sweet Shark’s smoked salmon is famous among our friends and family. The pimento cheese is my favorite version from Scott Peacock and Edna Lewis’s The Gift of Southern Cooking. It’s one of my very favorite Southern cookbooks and I highly recommend it. I set the pre~race snacks on our large kitchen island.
Kentucky Derby Pre ~ Race Menu
Sweet Shark’s Smoked Salmon with Dipping Sauce and Toast Points
Southern Pimento Cheese
Fruit Tray Derby Trash
I have 5 tables set for our guests to enjoy dinner after the race ~ 1 in the dining room, 1 in the breakfast room and 3 outside on the patio. We just pray it doesn’t rain! Here is the breakfast room table. All the tables have red roses in mason jars tied with black & white check ribbon.
We have enough of the official Kentucky Derby glasses to use for “water”. This glass is from 2001 when Sweet Shark and I attended the Derby. I think it’s one of the prettiest.
A few jockey caps add to the festivities as do the sprinkling of little horses on the table.
The race is almost ready to go off.
We don’t set up the outdoor tables until Saturday morning. That’s when I put all the flowers on the tables. Food preparations are in full swing.
Here is our dinner menu. It’s tested and approved by our guests.
Kentucky Derby Post~Race Dinner
Maple ~ Glazed Ham
Cheddar Chive Biscuits
Fried Chicken Drumettes with Ranch Dressing
Shannon’s Mother’s Cornbread Salad
Sweet Shark’s Baked Beans
Raspberry Chocolate Mini~Tarts
On Friday I’ll share the Southern Pimento Cheese recipe. It’s so delicious. I’ll also share links to a couple of other Derby party recipes.
Almost time to place your bets. Be sure to watch the race on Saturday. Post time is at 5:34 CTS on NBC although coverage of the horses, trainers, jockeys and shots of the ladies in their hats comes on early in the day. Don’t miss it ~ remember, it’s only 2 minutes long!