Wines With Charm Blog

Traditional Kentucky Derby Food Recipes

Kentucky Derby is just around the corner, one of the South’s most awaited events of the year. Women flaunt their elaborate hats and sundresses during the event and men wear their seersucker suits with cocktails and cigars in hand. But for the Southerners, the Kentucky Derby is not complete without traditional food and drinks. This year the Run for the Roses will be held on May 5, and we have a line up of great recipes to get your Derby party rolling!


Kentucky Derby Delightful Food Recipes

Today, Simply Charmed is sharing some Derby Day traditional food recipes and a few cocktail recipes.

Beer Cheese

This cheesy dip gained its popularity in some parts of the country recently, but it originated in the 1930s in Kentucky. This gooey goodness is best served with soft and warm pretzels. Today, there are packaged versions sold in the market, but you can create your own for your Derby party. Here's a beer cheese dip recipe.

Here's what you need:

12 ounces shredded, sharp cheddar cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 bottle or 12 ounce beer, preferably brown ale

5 ounces evaporated milk

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Kosher salt, to taste

Here’s how to mix it:

  1. Mix cheese with cornstarch in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Mix beer, milk, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce in a medium saucepan.
  3. Heat the beer mixture over medium heat until gently steaming, whisking frequently to prevent scorching.
  4. When beer mixture is warm, add cheese, stirring until completely melted, bubbling slightly, and thickened.
  5. Stir in hot sauce and season with salt to taste.
  6. Serve immediately.

Bourbon Balls

This liquor-infused candy, Kentucky candy was invented by Ruth Hanly Booe. This boozy bite-sized treat is enclosed with creamy-sweet bourbon-laced center and rolled in powdered sugar, granulated sugar, or finely chopped pecans.

Here's what you need:

1 cup fine vanilla wafer crumbs

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1/4 cup bourbon

2 cups powdered sugar, divided

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Here's how to make it:

  1. Combine the chopped pecans, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla wafer crumbs.
  2. In a separate bowl, blend the bourbon and corn syrup.
  3. Mix the bourbon mixture into the dry mixture.
  4. Cover and chill for at least a few hours.
  5. Sift about 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered sugar into a wide, shallow bowl.
  6. Shape small bits of the dough into balls and roll them in the powdered sugar.
  7. Store in the refrigerator in tightly covered containers for up to 2 weeks.
  8. For best flavor, make these a few days in advance. Roll in powdered sugar again before serving for best results.
  9. The bourbon balls can be stored for long by freezing it.

Kentucky Burgoo

In the 19th century, the burgoo served in the South was made of opossum, rabbit and squirrel. Today, Kentucky burgoo is a hearty meat stew made with beef, chicken and lamb simmered with beans, tomatoes, vegetables, sorghum or molasses, Worcestershire, ketchup, vinegar, and spices.

Here's what you need:

1 pound chunked beef top round

1 pound chunked lamb sirloin

1/2 pounds chunked chicken thighs

1 tablespoon salt

12 cups water

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (one 12-ounce bag)

2 1/2 cups frozen sliced okra (one 12-ounce bag)

2 15-ounce cans, butter beans, drained

1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup Kentucky sorghum or molasses

1/4 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


Here's how to prepare it:

  1. Place the beef, chicken and lamb in a large Dutch oven.
  2. Add the salt and water. Bring to a boil, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.
  3. Reduce the heat, partially cover it, and let it simmer until the beef and lamb are fork tender. About 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Remove the beef, chicken and lamb pieces to a plate and let cool.
  5. Strain the broth, pour back into Dutch oven.
  6. Stir in the garlic, onion, butter beans, mixed vegetables, okra, tomatoes, sorghum or molasses, Worcestershire sauce, cloves, ketchup, red pepper flakes and vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Add the meat to the vegetables and cook for about 1/2 hour to thicken the broth.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Kentucky Derby Delicious Cocktails

It wouldn’t be Kentucky Derby party without Derby cocktails! Here are delightful cocktail recipes for your Derby party!

Cherry Julep Cocktail

This Cherry Julep cocktail secret recipe is gin and cherry brandy. It's a refreshing drink to be served on Kentucky Derby party or any spring and summer events.

Here's what you need for 2 servings:

4 measures | 100ml | 3.5 fluid ounces - gin

2 measures | 50ml | 1.8 fluid ounces - cherry brandy

Handful of ice

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tsp grenadine

2 tsp simple syrup

Soda water to top up

Lemon rind strips to decorate or mint leaves, frozen berries etc.

Crushed ice to serve

Here's how to mix it:

  1. In a cocktail shaker, add ice, lemon juice, grenadine, sugar syrup, gin and cherry brandy.
  2. Shake vigorously until a frost forms on the cocktail shaker.
  3. Strain into two highball or rocks glasses filled with crashed ice.
  4. Top up with soda water and stir.
  5. Decorate with lemon rind strips or frozen fruit.

Pom Whisky Sour Cocktail

This cocktail drink is a classic whisky sour with a pomegranate twist.

Here's what you need for 2 servings:

Ice cubes

1 whole lemon and additional slices for garnish

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons pomegranate juice

2 shots Scotch whiskey

12 ounces Sprite or club soda


Here's how to mix it:

  1. Add ice cubes to two fashioned glasses.
  2. Cut lemon in half, juice each half and pour into glasses.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice, and one shot of Scotch to each glass.  
  4. Top with Sprite or club soda, stir well.
  5. Garnish with lemon slices.

Giddy Up Cocktail

This cocktail drink is big punch flavor. It's a mix of warm spices and the fruit ingredients make it a tasty cross between sangria and a spiced wine.

Here's what you need for 15 servings:

3-4 fresh figs, sliced (or 1 cup dried figs)

1-2 fresh gala apples, sliced

1 cup of cherries

2-3 oranges, sliced (not peeled)

1 lemon, sliced

2 bottles VOGA Italia Merlot

3 cups sparkling apple cider

1 cup orange juice

½ cup brandy

½ cup dark spiced rum

4 cinnamon sticks

5 whole cloves


Here's how to mix it:

  1. Slice apples and insert whole cloves directly into the fruit.  
  2. Combine all fruit slices in a glass pitcher and slowly pour in brandy and wine.
  3. Cover and chill from 2-24 hours (the longer, the better!)
  4. Before serving, add sparkling cider and orange juice.
  5. Stir gently and serve over ice.
Kentucky Derby is the most awaited event of the year not only for Southerners, but by people from different states flocks Kentucky to watch the greatest horse race of the year and to party! Sporting events as great as the Kentucky Derby is worthy of celebrating, with something to drink and nibble. Add some excitement to your party by adding some party decorations and Kentucky Derby magnetic wine glass charms to your glasses. Get started! Bring out some hats, fancy dresses, pour some wine and start planning your Kentucky Derby party foods and drinks! If you want more Kentucky Party ideas, watch out for our next blog about Derby party decorations and more cocktail recipes!
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