The Perfect Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Recipe

Who doesn’t love an excuse to dress up, put on a gorgeous spring hat and drink out of a chilled silver cup? I know this girl does! This quick and easy Mint Julep cocktail recipe is perfect for a Kentucky Derby party or for a lazy summer day on the front porch.

Kentucky Derby Party ideas. Min Julep cocktail recipes. Starting with fresh mint and silver mint julep cups. AnAppealingPlan 1000x

Whether you live in Kentucky, the South or the Northeast, Derby parties are sure to be popping up all around you the first week in May – perhaps even at your house. If you are considering hosting – you do not want to miss my Kentucky Derby Party planning check list – sure to reduce hostess stress and increase enjoyment!

This cocktail has the special touch of a mint simple syrup to really create a refreshingly cool beverage all delivered to you in an amazing silver julep cup! So gather a few girlfriends in hats and guys in bow ties and enjoy sipping this Derby ready Mint Julep cocktail!

Kentucky Derby Party planning ideas. Min Julep cocktail recipe. Starting with fresh mint and silver mint julep cups. AnAppealingPlan  thumb




3 ounces Kentucky bourbon
1 ounce mint simple syrup
2-3 cups chipped ice
mint sprig, for garnish


Fill silver mint julep cup with chipped ice, top with bourbon and mint simple syrup. Add mint sprig for garnish and serve immediately.

Makes one serving, based on cup volume.

{be sure to serve with food as it is a strong beverage. We suggest Zesty Pimento Cheese or Bourbon Bacon Deviled Eggs. Let us know what you plan on pairing it with in the comments below!}

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Beaded Barware Mint Julep Cup,
Simple Syrup by Woodford Reserve – Mint Julep



Your Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party Planning Checklist

The Kentucky Derby is an annual horse race held in Louisville, Kentucky, on the first Saturday in May, ending the two-week-long Kentucky Derby Festival. The stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds is held at Churchill Downs on a one and a quarter miles {2 km} track.

Also known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” and also “The Run for the Roses”, first raced in 1875 recently celebrating its 140 anniversary, is the first leg of the American Triple Crown and followed by the Preakness Stakes, then the Belmont Stakes. A horse must win all three races to win the Triple Crown.

Kentucky Derby planning ideas by @KraylFunch #AnAppealingPlan

The attendance at the Kentucky Derby ranks first in North America and usually surpasses the attendance of all other stakes races frequently reaching over 165,000 people! If you are not one of the lucky “few” to acquire a ticket to this year’s race I highly recommend hosting a Kentucky Derby viewing party of your own. Who can resist chilled drinks in fabulous silver cups and a reason to wear a gorgeous hat!

If you are considering hosting a Derby party, the following list can serve as your party planner check list. With just a little prep work your gathering will run smoothly and even better, be stress free!


Kentucky Derby Table ideas - mint Julep Cups with Kentucky Bourbon, Wedgwood Equestrian espresso cups and zesty pimento cheese 700x



1-3 Months Before – {this is a general timeline – don’t let it stop you from pulling together a last-minute gathering}

  • Check your local listing for television coverage schedule and timing. Ensure you will be able to view at your home or if you will need to host your party elsewhere.
  • Contact friends or relatives with a “Save the Date” email or call {or if you have time, surprise your friends with a mailed invitation – the Derby is a fun time to go all out formal}.
  • Determine attire and other requirements of guests {Dressy or Casual / Hats or No Hats} be sure to include this in your invitation wording.
  • Shop for your Kentucky Derby hat or wardrobe!
  • Pull out your julep cups, silver vases and any china or linens with an equestrian theme.
  • Purchase additional supplies and favors as needed.
  • Order official Kentucky Derby race day programs to be delivered to your home – believe it or not, this can be done through the official website and adds a fun touch.

2 Weeks Before Your Kentucky Derby Party

  • Create your race day menu – select recipes, develop your shopping list.

Suggested Kentucky Derby Menu ::

Zesty Pimento Cheese
Bourbon Bacon Deviled Eggs
The Perfect Kentucky Mint Julep
Spinach + Kale Bites with Hollandaise Sauce – {sign up for alerts}

  • Determine your race day bar offerings and recipes – check your stock and create a list spirits, mixers and garnishes needed.
  • Check the menu and bar list against your silver, china, serveware and linen collection. Purchase or borrow to fill.
  • Tally RSVP’s to finalize guest list and count.

1 Week Before Your Kentucky Derby Party

  • Create a Derby Party music playlist, of course it must include – “My Old Kentucky Home”
  • Shop for all menu items and bar offerings.
  • Order flowers to be delivered, if you do not intend to create your own display.

Kentucky Derby Table pimento Cheese with Mint Julep Equestrian on #KraylFunch (2) 750x


1 Day Before Your Kentucky Derby Party

  • Arrange your table top the night before – this allows you time to get ready but also to enjoy your display before guests arrive.
  • Create your flower centerpiece – traditionally Roses are the flower of choice but use what is fresh and available.
  • Prepare dips or other items that will hold {or improve} overnight.
  • Stock your bar with spirits, mixers and garnish – ensure you have plenty of mixers, glassware and water available for guests to stay hydrated, or for those not partaking in alcoholic beverages.

Kentucky Derby Party ideas. Min Julep cocktail recipes. Starting with fresh mint and silver mint julep cups. AnAppealingPlan 1000x

Kentucky Derby Table - @KraylFunch #AnAppealingPlan - 750x

Day Of – Kentucky Derby Race Day

  • Make or Purchase extra ice.
  • Finish preparing your menu items – place on table when ready.
  • Print out racing forms for guests to track their wins!
  • Pour yourself a Mint Julep and put on your party dress… and hat of course!
  • Welcome guests as they begin to arrive.
  • Tune in early for coverage of the undercard races and Red Carpet – that’s the best part right!?
  • Breathe and relax. You did it! Enjoy the race in style!

How are you celebrating?? Let me know in the comments! We love to hear how you are entertaining at home!

Bourbon Bacon Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs recipes have traditionally varied greatly by ingredient mainly regionally, however in the last few years they have become more and more adventurous all across the nation with the addition of new flavor profiles. These Bourbon Bacon Deviled Eggs keep the filling clean with just a few ingredients to let the Bourbon Bacon flavor shine through. It’s the perfect dish to serve to guests to welcome them as they arrive for a gathering at your home, yet not spoil their appetite, or to bring to a neighbors BBQ.

Bourbon Bacon Deviled Eggs via @KraylFunch (15) 1000x

As a kid I remember arriving at a relatives homes for a special gatherings and heading immediately to the food display. Peaking my head up to see those smooth pure white egg halves filled with a creamy yellow mixture front and center. Not always my favorite snack until I reached my teens, I truly have always dreamed of having a collection of special deviled egg platters to showcase during spring entertaining opportunities. Perhaps some day…
Bourbon Bacon Deviled Egg Recipe from Perfect for a Kentucky Derby Party or to bring to a neighbors BBQ.

{This recipe has been revised in 2016 to a new recipe which after further testing has produced a more flavorful Bourbon Bacon. Enjoy!}



3 tablespoons Bourbon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
12 large eggs, hardboiled 
1/3 cup organic mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped chives, plus more for garnish
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place equal parts Bourbon and brown sugar in a small sauce pan. Heat until fully combined, simmer – do not allow to boil – for 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat. Allow to cool slightly.

In a medium skillet cook bacon on medium heat until crisp, be cautious not to burn. Place on bacon on paper towels.

When bacon is cool to the touch, dip each piece into the bourbon syrup, coat both sides and place on a plate to cool completely.

Peel hardboiled eggs, half lengthwise with a sharp knife and remove yolks. Reserve yolks in separate bowl. Rinse off egg white halves to remove any remaining yolks.

Chop yolks into fine pieces using a knife or food processor. In a medium size bowl, combine reserved yolks, mayonnaise, mustard, and chopped chives in a medium bowl. Stir until well combined. season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Transfer to a resealable bag. Cut a small triangle off 1 corner to allow mixture to be piped into whites; garnish each egg with crumbled bacon. For an additional garnish add chives to the platter.

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All-Clad Stainless Steel 3-Quart Saute Pan with Lid
Oxo Good Grips Nylon Slotted Spoon
BrightSpring Mixing Bowls

Zesty Southern Pimento Cheese 

Admittedly my relationship with Pimento Cheese did not begin until I moved South. I had heard of it, but honestly thought of it as some type of cheese mixture close to Port Wine Cheese or a Cheese Ball you have at the holiday’s.

Kentucky Derby Party Pimento Cheese recipe on by @KraylFunch (9) 750x

After a few visits with neighbors and attending various gatherings this “southern” mixture started to become more and more a part of my entertaining menu. Still, I had not made it personally – I thought, “Is a girl born and raised in the Northeast even allowed to make and serve this dish??”

So, I began to do a little research on recipes and the history of Pimento Cheese. Let’s start with recipes – I think there are just as many recipe variations as there are Southern mothers! Too many to count and all with their own must have ingredients, and story to go along, about why this ingredient is a MUST for an authentic Pimento Cheese Recipe.

Kentucky Derby Table  pimento Cheese with Mint Julep Equestrian on #KraylFunch (2) 750x


Moving on to the history. No one was more shocked to find out that pimento cheese got its beginnings in the North—in New York, in fact—as a product of industrial food manufacturing and mass marketing! Imagine that? This truly southern dish is a transplant to the warmer weather, just like many of us in the Southern states.

Sometime shortly after World War II, the popularity of the pre-made pimento cheese brands began to fade, but Southern cooks took what began as an industrial food product and started developing their own recipes for making and serving it at home.

According to Robert Moss, Southern Food Correspondent and author of Going Lardcore: Adventures in New Southern Dining, from“These new, up-to-date products—cream cheese and red pimentos—were favorites of the practitioners of Domestic Science. Also known as “home economics,” it was a women-led social reform movement that sought to bring order and scientific precision to all aspects of the home, with a particular emphasis on scientific cooking and a neat dinner table. Cream cheese was the perfect food for the Domestic Science sensibility. The Domestic Scientists loved canned pimentos, too, especially their mild, inoffensive flavor and their flashy red color.” 

Don’t you love it!

So without further delay my fellow “Domestic Scientists” – I offer you my version of Zesty Pimento Cheese Spread.

Kentucky Derby Table Cheese Tulips Eggs Kale Mint Julep Equestrian  (11) 750x




  • 1 – 8 ounces package whipped cream cheese
  • 2 – 4 ounce jars of diced pimentos, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon srirachi sauce, or hot sauce of choice
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, add to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, add to taste
  • 5 cups {1 1/4 pounds} shredded cheddar cheese
  • green onions, for garnish if desired


In a food processor combine cream cheese, pimentos, celery seeds, Worcestershire sauce, srirachi sauce, apple cider, salt and pepper. Season to taste.

In a medium size bowl combine cream cheese mixture and shredded cheese with a wooden spoon until well blended. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.

Garnish with green onions, if desired. Serve with crackers or melba toast.

How do you like your pimento cheese spread?? Let me know in the comments below!

Kentucky Derby Cups: A Brief History

“Kentuckians maintain that when a mint julep is made right, you can hear angels sing. Always made with fresh mint, Kentucky bourbon, and plenty of crushed or shaved ice, it is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. ”

Traditionally, mint juleps are served in silver or pewter cups (which frost better than glass). Thousands of mint juleps are served every year at the Derby, on the first Saturday in May, at Churchill Downs, and at weekend Derby parties around the nation.

The racetracks’ clubhouse began mixing mint juleps around 1875. The drink really became popular and became the track’s signature libation in 1938 when the management began charging 75 cents for the drink and the small glass vessel it came in. Every year during Derby week at Churchill Downs, more than 80,000 mint juleps are served.

Mint Julep Cups and Mint Julep Glasses
Many people use the words ‘mint julep cups’ and ‘mint julep glasses’ interchangeably, but in Kentucky they actually refer to two different things.

Here is a quick explanation of the differences between the two with a little bit of history.

About Kentucky Mint Julep Cups

With a history that stretches back hundreds of years, the Kentucky Mint Julep Cup can trace its origins to early American silversmiths. Their designs for cups and beakers changed as they moved across the country, and cups from many southern states have unique and distinctive styles.

In Kentucky, the classic American beaker was remade into the Julep Cup with straight body lines and graceful moldings at the base and rim by the early craftsmen Asa Blanchard of Lexington and William and Archibald Cooper of Louisville.

Popular throughout the early South, the Julep Cup has long been a symbol of achievement, esteem and prestige. For over 200 years Kentuckians have given, received, and used their julep cup at events like christenings, weddings, fairs and of course, the races.

Kentucky Derby Glasses

About Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Glasses

While the concept of serving mint juleps was not new, the development of the Mint Julep Glass came later.

Many people think that Kentucky Derby Mint Julep glasses started in 1938, but although the confusion is understandable, they did not. What happened in 1938 is that instead of serving their mint juleps in paper cups, Churchill Downs served them in tall water glasses and people kept stealing them.

So the following year in 1939 Churchill Downs created a promotional piece — the birth of the Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Glass — that people could purchase and keep as a souvenir of their visit to the Kentucky Derby.

In 1939, the Libbey Glass Company of Toledo, Ohio was contracted to create the glasses in color, which made them more attractive for mint julep sales. Reportedly the initial sales increased threefold. Since that time, Libbey of Toledo, Ohio has manufactured nearly all of the mint julep glasses.
Since its 1938 inception, the Kentucky Derby Mint Julep Glass has grown in popularity and is often viewed as the leading Kentucky Derby collectible. As with many items, the value of a Kentucky Derby glass is based in its rarity. From 1938 through 1952 less than 100,000 Kentucky Derby glasses were annually produced.

In 1966, the production numbers rose to 250,000, followed by an increase to 400,000 for the 100th running of the race in 1974. In 1985 the production hit 500,000 and today it stands at 700,000.

Interestingly enough, until 1974, only Churchill Downs sold Derby glasses, making the limited supply the perfect collectible. After 1974, various retail outlets began selling the glasses in honor of the 100th Derby.

Over the years some modifications have occurred. In 1940-1941, over apparent concern for broken glass found on the racetrack grounds, aluminum tumblers were employed. During the war years 1942-1943-1944, aluminum was at a premium, as a replacement glass, the Beetleware Company produced a ceramic-type tumbler of various colors.


Sterling Silver Julep Cups

Churchill Downs President Bill Corum introduced the Sterling Silver julep cups in 1951. The idea of a sterling silver julep cup was an idea of Col. Matt Winn, Corum’s predecessor who died in 1949. Winn had discussed with Downs’s officials his feeling that there should be another official, useful souvenir of the Kentucky Derby.

The cups feature a small horseshoe and they hold 12 fluid ounces. The julep cup plays an important role in Kentucky Derby folklore.

Traditionally, the governor of Kentucky salutes the victorious Derby owner with a toast at the fashionable Winner’s Party following the race.

Looking for a classic Mint Julep Recipe? Check out or favorite here.

A Classic Blue + Silver Centerpiece

One of my favorite entertaining tips is for every host to have a “go-to” centerpiece or arrangement that they can easily pull together in a moments notice when friends or family give the word that they will be stopping by, or simply to have on your kitchen table to welcome you home each day. This classic Blue and Silver centerpiece using Hydrangeas is at the top of my list as it is a fantastic combination of simplicity and elegance.

themed centerpiece @AnAppealingPlan  #hydrangea #silver #DerbyParty

To watch this video click on the image below.

My favorite silver vase to use is similar to the mint julep cups found at the Kentucky Derby. I love to mix and match different sizes to create a centerpiece. For this centerpiece we’re going to use julep cups, one taller and one smaller as well as two different size Hydrangea.





  • Tall Silver Julep Cup
  • 2 Blue Hydrangea Blooms
  • Kitchen Shears
  • Water



Fill julep cups with water approximately half full.

Cut your hydrangea stems to the correct height by placing your cups on a table and measuring the height of the stem so the bloom will sit in the cup just above the rim. For this particular floral centerpiece you will want them to rest just above the top. Cut off the appropriate amount off the bottom of the stem.

Pull the two vases together to create small centerpiece or create a larger version by grouping several julep cups.

Silver and blue is a perfect classic combination for gatherings throughout the year but particularly during the spring and summer months, this arrangement is perfect for a Kentucky Derby gathering or Garden Party.

Read more by visiting eHow.

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Cinco vs Derby. Lime vs Mint. The battle continues.

Kentucky Derby or Cinco de Mayo? Mint Julep or Margarita? It is an age-old question leading up to the first weekend in May. Well OK, maybe not age-old but still, a question that I  have asked every year in May during my adult entertaining years.

Living in the North East most of my life Cinco de Mayo was my excuse to have a party and my kick off to summer. One month before the traditional Memorial Day weekend, I would send out the invite and pray for a warm sunny day to host friends for guacamole, salsa, margaritas and the always popular “Cinco Brownies” outside on the patio. Then one year, two friends RSVP’d to the invite that they would be late arriving due to a Derby Party! “What is this Derby you speak of? “ I asked. “The Kentucky Derby of course!” They quickly responded. Now of course I had heard of the Derby but never having attended an official party I had no idea it was such a big deal.

When they showed up dressed to the nine’s in their summer whites and fancy hats, I was suddenly torn. An excuse to get overly dressed up in summer attire, and then to also find out there is even a special drink with the main ingredient of Mint served in a fancy silver cup! Could there be a better way to kick off the summer entertaining season? It was too much for my hostess brain to handle.

This year, as it happens every so many years, the two fall on the exact same weekend and we are once again asked to choose. Cinco or Derby? Margarita or Julep? How can one decide? Perhaps we can create Derby de Mayo? Which one will YOU celebrate? In the comments below share which one if your favorite and how you will be celebrating this year.

In the meantime, as a good hostess would, I leave you with two cocktails. One recipe for the classic Mint Julep and the other my favorite twist on a Margarita, the Prickly Pear Margarita. Whichever  you choose please enjoy Safely!

{BONUS: looking for an arrangement for your Derby Celebration? Give you Julep cups double use with this classic centerpiece.}



Ingredients {serves 1}

  • 1 ounce minted simple syrup
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish


In a silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to fill glass. Stir well, garnish with mint sprig and proper straw.



Ingredients {serves 4}

  • 8 ounces white tequila
  • 4 ounces Cointreau
  • 4 ounces cactus pear syrup
  • 2 ounces fresh lime juice
  • Crushed ice
  • Lime wedge, for garnish
  • Coarse salt, optional


Combine tequila, orange-flavored liqueur, cactus pear syrup, lime juice and ice in a shaker. Serve over ice in rocks glass and garnish with lime.