10 Kentucky Derby food and drink recipes to try for your at-home party

The 148th Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 7 and that means it’s time to saddle up and start planning your party. If you’re not quite sure where to start, Louisville entertaining mavens Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler have written a book filled with entertaining ideas and recipes called “Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon?” 

It includes traditional Southern cocktails and appetizers that will take your 2022 Kentucky Derby party up a notch, from nontraditional mint juleps to everything from Kentucky classic Benedictine to cheese grits and corn pudding. (Plus, try the bonus recipe below from Kentucky’s own Ale-8-One.)

Entertaining experts Tim Laid and David Danielson, the former executive chef at Churchill Downs, have also co-authored a Southern-inspired cookbook “The Bourbon Country Cookbook.” The beautifully photographed book is filled with recipes from the historic racetrack and more that are just right for Kentucky Derby week festivities.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t get left behind at the starting gate. You can never start planning a great Kentucky Derby party too early. Here are 10 food and cocktails recipes to try that are guaranteed winners.    

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Traditional mint julep cocktail recipe

The traditional cocktail of the Kentucky Derby is the mint julep

The traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby, the mint julep, is a must at any home Kentucky Derby party. This recipe is courtesy of “Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon?” 


  • 1-ounce simple syrup
  • 3 to 5 fresh mint leaves plus a fresh sprig for garnish
  • 3-ounces Kentucky bourbon
  • Crushed ice

To make the simple syrup, add 2 cups of granulated sugar to 1 cup of boiling water. Cool, bottle and refrigerate. You can do this the day before the party.

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