Derby Party Hosting Tips

In celebration of the 150th Kentucky Derby, I've gathered some of my favorite ideas and recipes to help you host a great Derby party

Mint Julep Recipe

Check out our recipe for the Official Drink of the Kentucky Derby

Build your Own Old Fashioned Bar

A Build Your Own Old Fashioned Bar is a great interactive option for your Derby Party. You can use this idea in addition to, or in place of, serving mint juleps. As the host you, or your bartender, can build these for your guests individually, or you can display a sign featuring the instructions and allow them to do it themselves!

Here's the base recipe: 

  • 2 oz. Bourbon or Rye
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 2-3 dashes of bitters
  • Ice
  • Garnish of your choice

Guests can add all of the ingredients to a rocks glass, stir, and garnish to serve.

Here are some tips to set up your Build Your Own Old Fashioned Bar: 

  • Provide a variety of Bourbons and Ryes: Select a minimum of 2-3 bottles for your guests to choose from. I like to offer at least one Bourbon and one Rye of varying proofs or from different distilleries. If you have a decent whiskey collection, you can provide as many bottles as you'd like for your guests to choose from!
  • Offer a selection of simple syrups: This is my favorite part of hosting this bar because it only requires a small amount of effort up front but tends to really impress guests. Providing a variety of simple syrups allows you to get creative with your flavors; you can do a traditional simple syrup, you can substitute the sugar for brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and so on, you can play with the ratio of sweetner to water to create a rich simple syrup, and you can infuse your syrups with herbs, fruit, or tea for added depth. The opportunities are endless! If you don't want to make the syrups yourself, you can buy pre-packaged syrups including our Elemental Elixirs Golden Hour Syrup
  • Supply various bitters: I recommend offering at least 2-3 different options of bitters. You can keep it more traditional and provide something like Angostura, orange, and cherry, or mix it up a little and try things like black walnut, tiki, and chocolate bitters. Or, go all out and get an entire line of bitters!
  • The finishing touch - Garnishes: This is another opportunity to be creative! Your garnishes can be as simple as orange and lemon twists or Luxardo cherries, or you can customize them based on the choices you've made as far as your whiskeys, syrups, and bitters. For example, you might consider providing fresh sprigs of rosemary as a garnish if you're offering maple syrup and black walnut bitters on your bar; this would make a nice "outdoorsy" old fashioned. 

Brown Derby Recipe 

If you're looking for a refreshing alternative to a Mint Julep, try our Brown Derby recipe

Small Bites
If you're serving cocktails at your Derby Party, you'll need to provide snacks for your guests! Here are a few ideas for small bites: 

You can find ingredients, bar tools, and resources on more cocktail recipes at our Amazon Storefront

Did you make any of these recipes? Let us know! 

Tag @whiskeyambitions and @itsbourbonnight on Instagram, or comment below and let us know how you liked it! 

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