One of the best parts about hosting a Kentucky Derby Party is that the perfect menu is easy to create! Watching the Kentucky Derby is a quick watch, and so the real party lies in the food, fun, and fanfare of the day. I think I took for granted the knowledge of the traditional foods and drinks that are ubiquitous with the Derby because when I posted about them on my Instagram, I heard from several of you that you would like to know more. Here is a menu that is tried-and-true and can be used each year~ or it can be tweaked to add your own creative flair to your party. To give you a foundation of the basics, see the ideas that follow!

  1. Kentucky Hot Browns ~

brown hotel kentucky hot brown made in skillet

These open-faced sandwiches were made famous by the Brown Hotel in Louisville, KY. Here is the original Kentucky Hot Brown recipe from the Brown Hotel.


2. Benedictine Sandwich ~ These “tea sandwiches” are light bites that so many Southerners grow up with as the perfect party food for showers and brunches. They are my favorite and can be dressed up and down in many ways. This recipe is from Southern Living.

kentucky derby benedictine cucumber sandwiches


3. Pimento Cheese – try this pimento cheese recipe by In the Curious Kitchen

kentucky derby silver tray with pimento cheese sandwich

I made a triple-decker sandwich with this recipe- the triple-stack is well-received for those who like to go very heavy on the cheese! ๐Ÿ™‚ The pimento cheese is delicious as a dip and on celery, too! Some even use pimento cheese as a topping on hamburgers and hotdogs.

4. Mint Julep

kentucky derby mini mint juleps on cake stand

kentucky derby mini mint juleps on cake stand

Mint Julep Recipe

Lydia Menzies
Servings 1


  • .5 oz simple syrup
  • 2 ~ 3 oz. Bourbon
  • 20 leaves fresh mint (some will be used for garnish)
  • crushed ice (enough to pack the cup with ice)


  • Add simple syrup to bottom of Mint Julep cup.
  • Add 10-12 mint leaves and gently crush (muddle) the leaves in the syrup to release the mint oils.
  • Add bourbon and a little bit of crushed ice.
  • Use a swizzle stick and stir the drink.
  • Add more crushed ice to the cup, making a slight mound at the top.
  • Add a bouquet of mint leaves and add a straw next to the mint.
  • Allow the drink to "set" for about 5 minutes and then sip slowly.
  • Enjoy!


5. Derby Pie ~ This really piqued everyone’s interest on my Instagram post. Derby Pie is rich and delicious and this recipe I will share is a version of Derby Pie from The Spruce Eats.

derby pie served in mini mint julep cups with mini hats on spoons

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