There really is no sporting event quite like the Kentucky Derby. Steeped in deep tradition (including that of those house-sized hats and advanced millinery that you'd only otherwise see at a British Royal wedding), the Derby is certainly known for American horse racing at its best and a celebration of bourbon and delicious southern cookin'.
Aside from the most obvious thing happening at the Derby, which is of course the horse racing, much goes on off the track. Socializing, cheering, and certainly betting on the ponies comes to mind. But there's also, by no means less important, the refreshments.
Naturally, the Derby also has some very specific traditions when it comes to food and drinks. We've compiled some of our favorite Derby-inspired recipes to get you ready for your Derby day watch party.
The Mint Julep
Down there at Churchill Downs, you have yourself a fancy little drink that has been made pretty well-known: the Mint Julep.
The Oaks Lily
If you're not a big mint julep fan, or you simply want to expand your Derby cocktail repertoire, there is always the Oaks Lily, which is composed of vodka, triple sec, sweet and sour, and cranberry juice. Perhaps not as famous as its minty cousin, but tasty nonetheless! Check out our recipe here.
The Crawfish and Arugula Salad
Looking for a colorful and delicious, Kentucky-inspired recipe to serve at your Derby party? Look no further! This beautiful and refreshing Crawfish and Arugula Salad is a surefire hit! It's just the right combination of tangy and light and pairs well with either of the aforementioned libations.
The Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich
The Hot Brown is a turkey, bacon, and cheese sandwich that's traditionally bathed in a cheese sauce that's super delicious but also perhaps not the healthiest. Not to worry! We whipped up a tasty spin on this (Louisville) Kentucky classic. Our version uses a tad less butter and cheese than your average recipe, and we opted for some 12-grain bread, making this a not-so-guilty but still totally delicious race day dish. Don't worry! We didn't sacrifice any of its crispy, crunchy, cheesy glory. Check out our recipe.
We hope these Derby-inspired recipes whetted your appetite for your Derby day watch party, even if that party consists of you and your TV. Just be sure to don a fancy hat, and you're off to the races!
Happy Derby Day, Hungry Fans!