Celebrate the Kentucky Derby Like a Local

While you may not live in Kentucky, you can still celebrate the most exciting two minutes in sports with Louisville style! [Updated 2019]


For most of us, the day before the Derby is a normal Friday. In Kentucky, it’s an actual holiday. Children don’t have school and most people don’t work either because they have the day off or they're taking an extra-long "lunch break" to watch the Kentucky Oaks. [Just like how Patriot's Day, a.k.a. Marathon Monday, is a holiday here in Boston.] And while it may be tempting, you don’t have to skip work on Friday to get ready for race day. 

Celebrate the Run for the Roses Like a Local:

A special thanks to our friends at Old Forester®, Woodford Reserve®, and Finlandia® for teaching us a thing or two about doing the Derby Kentucky-style!

#DerbyLikeALocal #kyderby #kentuckyderby #kentuckyderby145 #derby2019

It's All About the Mint Julep

The Mint Julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century.

Each year, almost 120,000 Mint Juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby weekend at Churchill Downs Racetrack.

That’s a feat that requires more than 10,000 bottles of Old Forester Mint Julep Ready-to-Serve Cocktail, 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint and 60,000 pounds of ice.

Old Forester Chrysanthemum Julep

  • 1 oz Old Forester Mint Julep
  • 0.5 oz Benedictine Liqueur
  • 1 oz Dry Vermouth

Combine all ingredients and pour into coupe glass packed with crushed ice. Garnish with absinthe sprayed mint sprig.

Feeling "Meh" About Mint?

Why not enjoy Woodford Reserve neat or on the rocks?

Not into Bourbon? Try the Finlandia® Oaks Lily®

For nearly a century, Kentucky Derby fans have celebrated Kentucky Derby Day and raised a toast to the winner with a frosty Mint Julep. In 2006 Kentucky Oaks fans were given the opportunity to launch a new tradition by raising a glass filled with a delicious concoction that is now known as the "Oaks Lily®," the official cocktail of the Kentucky Oaks.

The signature cocktail of America's premier race for 3-year-old fillies was developed by the Brown-Forman Corporation of Louisville with a goal of creating a more feminine libation that reflected the essence of the hot pink and white-hued stargazer lily. A fragrant garland of stargazer lilies is draped over the shoulders of the filly that claims the lilies on Oaks Day.

  • 1 1/4 oz. FINLANDIA Vodka                       
  • 1 oz. Sweet and Sour Mix
  • 1/4 oz. Triple Sec
  • 3 oz. Cranberry Juice
Once the ingredients are mixed, place the pinkish cocktail in a stemless wine glass with crushed ice, add a straw and garnish with a blackberry and lemon wedge.

Eat Delish Derby Dishes

Everybody loves party food! Enjoy Kentucky favorites like:

  • Shrimp Dip
  • Pimento Cheese: the "caviar of the South," can be enjoyed on a Ritz cracker, as a soup, in grits, make grilled cheese with a kick...heck, they even put it on AND in burgers! 
  • Cheese Straws
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Benedictine Spread: more commonly known to us Northerners as "Cucumber Dill Dip"
  • Hot Brown Sandwiches: hot WHAT?! you say...a Hot Brown is an open-faced white toast sandwich with sliced turkey covered with Mornay sauce, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, then oven-broiled until bubbly and finally topped off with crispy bacon strips. Hot YEAH!
  • Buttermilk Biscuits: pile on Country Ham, Fried Chicken, whatever protein you fancy as long as it's topped with pickles you're all set! Speaking of pickles...
  • Pickled Shrimp: serve on toast or make it a main meal over grits, rice or pasta
  • Pie: Derby Pie, Blueberry Pie, and Pecan Pie are among the favorites
  • Bourbon Desserts: Balls, Bars, Brownies, Bread Pudding. Chocolate and Bourbon simply belong together!

It seems that as long as your menu includes cheese, shrimp, something pickled, and plenty of bourbon, you're definitely celebrating the Kentucky Derby like a local! So head on over to Pinterest and get inspired.

Get (really) Dressed Up

  • Guys, this is the one legitimate excuse to wear seersucker and don a bow tie. Extra points for a fedora!

  • ?Ladies, don't be afraid to wear a wild, wide-brimmed hat or a funky fascinator. This royal fashion statement is fun and not just for church or weddings.

?Sing along to "My Old Kentucky Home"

This tradition started in 1924. Even if you're watching on TV, it's pretty amazing to witness and be a part of the relevry from your living room. Transcribed by Jennifer Lee. [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons

If you've made it this far down our post, you're definitely ready to celebrate the 145TH running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs like a local. Cheers!

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