One of the most iconic horse races, 2023 running of the Kentucky Derby, takes place on the first Saturday of May 6. That means it’s time to get started planning your Derby Day menu which should be packed with traditional Derby dishes and beverages!
You can start with everyday party dishes but why stop there when it’s time for the Kentucky Derby? Bring some of the meals associated with the race and famed track, Church Hill Downs, into your home or backyard for an authentic Derby feel.
No. 5: Beer Cheese
How simple is this Derby Day favorite? Make a creamy cheese dip with the flavor of your favorite beer! The popularity of beer cheese has only grown over the years due to its hearty flavor. Serve with chips, crackers, or large pretzels.
No. 4: Burgoo
Burgoo is a cross between soup, stew, and maybe chili… but made with smoked barbecue meat. The meat can be pork, chicken, or beef. Or all three! It has a seasoned sauce with a smoky flavor. Toss in the meat, corn, lima beans, celery, and such, simmer, and serve. There are plenty of versions available and you can even reduce down some of the broth and meat and use it as an ingredient for a dip recipe!
No. 3: Hot Brown Sandwiches
A Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich is an open-faced dish served with toast, turkey, and a creamy sauce. The whole sandwich is cooked in the oven until the edges of the toast are golden and the sauce browns. Chefs are making modern versions based on the classic which include cheese, ham, bacon, and just about anything you can think of. Small slider versions would be perfect for any Kentucky Derby Party menu.
No.2: Derby Pie
Derby Pie comes from the Kern’s Kitchen bakery in Louisville and it has become the traditional dessert for the Running of the Roses. Think along the lines of a Pecan pie… but with chocolate, a splash of bourbon, and walnuts instead of pecans. You can order an original from Kern’s or try your hand at making one yourself. Substitutes include Chocolate walnut cupcakes, cookies, or even chocolate walnut brownies.
No. 1: Mint Juleps & Oaks Lily
The Kentucky Derby’s signature drink is the Mint Julep which is a simple syrup combined with mint, Kentucky bourbon, and ice. The Kentucky Oaks race is run on Friday before the Derby on Saturday and it has a traditional beverage called an Oaks Lily. This cocktail is vodka-based with cranberry juice and a few other ingredients. You can also add a splash of mint to lemonade and tea for a non-alcoholic version or a Mint Julep.