10 Things You Need For a Kick-Ass Kentucky Derby Party

Are you ready for it? I hope you are, but in case you’re plans for this Saturday aren’t set in stone and you are scrambling to put something together a last-minute Kentucky Derby-themed party, then we’ve got you covered here at BroBible.

While the Master’s may claim itself as “A Tradition Unlike Any Other,” there is simply not a smugger, more festive tradition than celebrating the annual Run for the Roses.

Horses have been raced at Churchill Downs in Louisville every consecutive year since 1875. The Kentucky Derby is as American, or even more American, than apple fucking pie. Therefore, you can’t celebrate the derby half-assed. It has to be full throttle or no throttle. You have to know your shit about the race and its traditions, or you have to stay at home. Most importantly though, you have to be prepared to drink, gamble and carry on like a raging lunatic. 

If this doesn’t sound like something you want to partake in, then change the channel.

For those of you looking forward to Saturday’s mayhem and debauchery, here’s 10 things you will need to make your Kentucky Derby party the best in town. 

1. Mint Juleps

If you don’t know what a mint julep is, that’s OK, but you should really reconsider throwing a Kentucky Derby-themed party if you don’t seeing that it is the traditional beverage of the race. A mint julep consists of four simple ingredients – bourbon, mint, sugar syrup and ice. The most important ingredient is good, Kentucky bourbon. And no, that does not mean Jim Beam. I’m talking about the good stuff – the classy stuff.

Heaven Hill. Maker’s Mark. Wild Turkey. Woodford Reserve. Town Branch.

Take your pick. You can’t go wrong with any of these though they’re a bit pricier than the standard, college go-to that is Jim Beam.

This is an American tradition after all, why would you settle for anything other than the best?

2. Good-Looking Girls in Good-Looking Hats

You’re doing yourself a huge disservice if your Kentucky Derby party isn’t littered with attractive women rocking those notorious Kentucky Derby hats. As I previously stated, the race doesn’t last all that long so leading up to the main event, you will want to have something nice to look at and to keep you entertained. With the booze flowing and women scattered around, you’re creating an atmosphere that parallels what’s actually taking place in Louisville.

An extra bonus here, the hats usually help give a girl a +2 in the looks department, making a five into a seven and so forth. Any piece of clothing item that has this much power is simply a necessity. Am I wrong?

3. A Nice Spread

Similar to the Super Bowl, a Kentucky Derby party must have a great spread. One specific item won’t do. For starters, I’d recommend baby hot browns, bourbon meatballs and classical Benedictine spread served with some crackers. The traditional meal of the Derby is called burgoo, a thick stew that consists of beef, chicken, pork and vegetables. It’s popular down in Kentucky and it’s really delicious, but on a cold day that calls for a good, manly stew. However, if the weather spikes above 70 and you’ve had five or six mint juleps, then I’d say stay away. I had burgoo once after day drinking and I am not ashamed to admit, it didn’t stay down.

4. Someone with a Knowledge of Horseracing

This really is vital. There are a lot of intricacies to horseracing, especially when it comes to gambling, and there’s also a ton of history surrounding the sport, as well as at the track. Having a person with a dense understanding of what’s going on really benefits everybody else at the party, especially the women who, of course, will be confused throughout the afternoon. Whatever you do though, don’t let this person place a wager and steal your money with his “inside” information. The horseracing experts is off-limits from gambling, that has to be written in the rules somewhere.

5. “My Old Kentucky Home” Playing in the Background

I’d argue that this song is as important to the tradition of the race as the drinking, the gambling and whatever other possible debauchery takes place on the first Saturday in May. As the horses are paraded before the grandstands, the University of Louisville Marching Band plays the state’s official song. You don’t have to necessarily recite the lyrics or even singing along, but having this tune at your party is essential.

6. Roses

Is it unmanly for a man to tell another man to have roses at his party? Perhaps it is, but the Kentucky Derby is the exception to this. Why? Because it’s the “Run for the Roses.” Scattering these flowers around after the race like the do in Louisville with the winner of the race is an important parts of the tradition and thusly a necessity for the decadence of your party.  Roses are a tradition that date back to 1896. Again, don’t fuck with tradition.

7. Avoid Fake Southern Accents

Nothing is more annoying than someone putting on a fake southern twang when they watch the Kentucky Derby and I’m not even from the South. I’m sure people that are would be twice, or even three times, as offended as I am because it’s simply mocking them and egregiously missing what the race represents.

Yes, it’s a festival for people for all around the country to celebrate and watch, but don’t lose track on this critical concepts – it’s supposed to be upscale and high class; hence, the roses, the mint juleps and the hats. With everything that goes into celebrating this spectacle, it would be a waste to throw it all away with a misplaced and inappropriately fake Southern accent.

8. Horseshoes

Isn’t this one obvious? I was reading through my original list of 10 and had to eliminate one of my points just in case anyone was brainless enough to forget that horseshoes are essential for a horseracing party. I don’t really need to explain this one much at all, do I? Good. Moving on…

9. A Bartender

These last two might sound like a luxury, but I’d highly recommend them to maximize the fun and the experience. Why? You don’t want to be mixing your Mint Juleps all afternoon and you especially don’t want to be concocting them when the gun is fired and the race starts. Having a designated bartender, or even a hired bartender, makes all of this so much less painful and makes the day go by so much more smooth. Again, I know it sounds smug, but it’s the Kentucky Derby – it’s one of the four or five moments of the year you can be smug with no regard to it offending others around you.

10. A Bookie

For me, this is the most important person/item you can have at your party, but then again I am a reckless gambler who first bet on the ponies when he was 14 thanks to my friend’s dad. Gambling and horseracing are synonymous with each other. I really hope I don’t have to explain why, but in case your ignorance run this deep, here it goes: more money is wagered at the Kentucky Derby than any other single sporting event other than the Super Bowl and it only lasts two minutes. Hence, “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.” America runs on gambling and there’s nothing more exhilarating than letting it ride on a horse. Do yourself a favor, before this Saturday rolls around look up the terms “exacta,” “trifecta” and “superfecta.”

Hitting one of these for a buck or two could make your Saturday, but this isn’t a gambling column so I will end this right here and just say good luck with whatever you decide to do to celebrate the 138th Annual Kentucky Derby.

[Kentucky Derby image via ShutterStock]