The Kentucky Derby is a cocktail party that pauses for 2 minutes for a horse race.
If you can't be at Churchill Downs yourself, why not pretend? Invite some friends to dress up (hats are required!) and come over about 5:30 p.m. to watch the 142nd "Run for the Roses" on Saturday, May 7.
Start with nibbles and the traditional Mint Juleps, cheer on the horses (post time is 6:24 p.m.), then have a sit-down dinner or heavy buffet (fried chicken, ham biscuits and deviled eggs are always a hit!).
Decorate with red roses, since the horse that wins the derby is draped in a blanket of red roses.
Before the race, have guests pick a number out of a hat that corresponds to a horse. The person holding the winning horse's number wins a prize (maybe a bouquet of roses for a lady, a bottle of bourbon for a gent).
Kentucky Benedictine Party Sandwiches
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup green onions, minced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Dash of green food coloring
48 white bread slices
Stir together first 8 ingredients. Spread mixture on 1 side of 24 bread slices; top with remaining 24 bread slices. Trim crusts from sandwiches; cut each sandwich into 4 triangles with a serrated knife.
-- Recipe from Rachel Welborn's personal recipe file
Mint Julep Sweet Tea
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 lemon, sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups cold sweetened tea
1 cup bourbon
Combine first 3 ingredients in a 2-qt. pitcher. Press mint leaves against sides of pitcher with back of spoon to release flavors. Stir in tea and bourbon. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs, if desired.
-- Recipe from Southern Living via My Recipes website