KY Derby Party Tips

May 1, 2024

Are you having a Derby party? Here are some essentials you need to made aware of and some tips on how to make the event the most enjoyable for your guests.

Although I highly recommend going to the Kentucky Derby itself, if you can’t make it to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of May you can always through one heck of a Derby Party. Here are some essentials you need to made aware of and some tips on how to make the event the most enjoyable for your guests.

Much like the Super Bowl the purpose of the party is to watch the race. Make sure that you have enough TV’s for the number of guests you provide. There’s nothing worse than having 50 people over to cram into one room with one TV. Almost as important as good viewing is for your party’s success, hearing the call of the race and the post parade rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home” is also very important for faithful Derby followers.

Good food and drink is always an important part in any party, but is especially is true on Derby Day. It’s not a Derby Party without some fine Kentucky bourbon and having a Mint Julep (see below) on Derby Day is a must. You can go the extra mile by picking up some Derby Glasses from a local liquor store or online. Some staple foods for Derby Day include a Kentucky Hot Brown, Derby Day Pie, and Burgoo. Have friends bring appetizers to help take the pressure off. As a rule of thumb it is always better to have too much food and drink than it is to not have enough.

Part of the appeal of Derby Day is betting. There are several ways to come up with pools and games. A simple way is just to put all 20 horses’ names in hat and have everyone draw one out for $5. Whichever person gets the winning horse wins the $100 jackpot. If you live by a track or somewhere where you bet on the race you could spice it up a bit and buy $5 win tickets on each horse and simply resell them through a draw too. Here some great ideas for games.

Just because you are at somebody’s house doesn’t mean you can dress up. A Derby hat or dress helps makes Derby Day what it is.

With the Derby always being run on the first Saturday in May there is seemingly always a good chance for showers. If you are expecting a big crowd, be sure to make a backup plan in the event it rains.

The official drink of the Kentucky Derby is a Mint Julep which is loaded with good old Kentucky bourbon, go figure. Here’s a good version of the recipe from

4 fresh mint sprigs
2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 tsp water

DIRECTIONS: Muddle mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a straw.

Have questions about party tips? Ask me on Twitter @DanClasgens


Comments are closed.