Southern Party: Kentucky Derby

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

Crushed ice

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