The Kentucky Derby 2024: A Brief History, Drink Ideas, & Tips for Your Party

If you’re a horse fan or horse racing fan, you’re probably looking forward to Kentucky Derby 2024! This is a day of horse racing, culminating in one of the most exciting races of the year. In this blog, we’re going to share a bit of history about this sensational event, some Kentucky Derby party ideas, and Kentucky Derby drinks for you to mix up as you enjoy the day of races and the Derby itself.

What Is the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is a Grade I stakes race for three-year-old Thoroughbreds. The race is run over a distance of one and a quarter miles (2.0 km). The field is limited to 20 horses, and they are selected based on their earnings and points earned in qualifying races. The race is the first leg of the Triple Crown, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

Fun Fact: The Kentucky Derby is known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports.”

When Is the Kentucky Derby?

In general, the Kentucky Derby is held on the first Saturday of May, every year. The event typically sees a crowd of about one hundred and fifty-five thousand every year, filling every seat. Ticket prices range from $85 (no seat) to thousands of dollars with hospitality services.

Kentucky Derby 2024

Kentucky Derby 2024 is set to happen on May 4th. Coverage starts early that day, around 2:30 PM EST, with the post time at 6:57 PM EST. The races will be broadcast on the channel NBC, but you can also stream it on NBC’s website or app. It looks like it will be available for streaming on the Paramount app, as well.

If you’re looking for the favored horses for Kentucky Derby 2024, CBS says “Florida Derby winner Fierceness is the favorite in the 2024 Kentucky Derby odds at 3-1.”. Who do you think will win?!

Where Is the Kentucky Derby Held?

Every year, the Kentucky Derby is hosted in Louisville, Kentucky, right here in the United States. The dirt racetrack used is at Churchill Downs. This is where it has happened every year since 1875.

What’s the History of the Kentucky Derby?

As we saw, the Kentucky Derby was first run in 1875; it was the brainchild of Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr., a grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Clark was inspired to create the race after attending the Epsom Derby in England, the oldest horse race in the world.

The first Kentucky Derby was won by a horse named Aristides, and he is a horse racing legend. Aristides’ race was run over a distance of 1.5 miles (2.4 km). However, in 1896, the distance was shortened to 1.25 miles (2.0 km). As we saw above, the Kentucky Derby is now only 1 ¼ miles long.

Since 1875, the Kentucky Derby has become a national institution. It is one of the most popular sporting events in the United States. The race attracts a massive crowd of fans, and it is televised to a national audience every year.

Fun Fact: The Kentucky Derby is also known as the “Run for the Roses.” This is because the winner of the Kentucky Derby receives a blanket of roses.

Kentucky Derby Party Ideas:

If you’re looking to host a fabulous Kentucky Derby party, don’t forget about these important party must-haves!

  • Decorations: Decorate your home or party space with traditional Kentucky Derby colors, such as black, white, and pink. You can also use horse-themed decorations, such as horseshoes, jockey silks, and racing flags.
  • Food: Serve traditional Southern food at your party, such as fried chicken, deviled eggs, mint juleps, and bourbon balls. You can also find recipes for Derby-themed foods online.
  • Games: Play some fun games at your party, such as Kentucky Derby bingo, horse racing pool, or hat judging. You can also find games online or in party stores.
  • Prizes: Give out prizes to the winners of your games or to the guests who wear the best hats. You can find prizes online or at party stores.
  • Music: Play some upbeat music at your party to get everyone in the mood for a good time. You can find a playlist online or create your own.
  • Attire: Encourage your guests to dress up for the party. Ladies can wear hats, dresses, and fascinators, while gentlemen can wear suits and ties.
  • Derby Day spirit: Make sure your party is full of Derby Day spirit. Play some music, wear your favorite hat, and enjoy the race!

5 Kentucky Derby Drinks to Try:

Now, obviously any drink will be a great start to a fun day of watching horse racing, but if you want to really get that southern, Kentucky spirit flowing, we have several drinks for you to try mixing up.

The Classic Choice: The Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is the traditional drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is a refreshing and delicious cocktail made with bourbon, fresh mint, simple syrup, and crushed ice. It is easy to make and can be enjoyed throughout the day.

To make a Mint Julep, you’ll need to muddle 4 mint leaves and 1 tsp simple syrup together in a julep cup or rocks glass. Next, add 2 oz bourbon (preferably a Kentucky bourbon!) and crushed ice. Stir the drink until the outside of the cup is frosty. Garnish with a mint sprig and enjoy!

For Something Frothy: The Brown Derby

The Brown Derby is a classic cocktail that is perfect for any Derby Day celebration. It is a bourbon-based drink that is similar to a Whiskey Sour, but with the addition of fresh grapefruit juice and honey syrup. The grapefruit juice gives the cocktail a tart and refreshing flavor, while the honey syrup adds a touch of sweetness.

The Brown Derby was created in the 1930s at the Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, California. The restaurant was a popular spot for celebrities and other well-known people, and the Brown Derby quickly became one of their favorite cocktails.

To make yourself a brown derby, you’ll need to combine 2 oz bourbon, ¾ oz grapefruit juice, and ¾ oz honey syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist and enjoy!

For a Little Sophistication: The Jockey Club

This sophisticated and spirit-forward cocktail is a close cousin of the Manhattan. It is made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, and maraschino liqueur. The bourbon gives the cocktail a bold and flavorful backbone, while the sweet vermouth adds a touch of sweetness and complexity. The maraschino liqueur adds a touch of sweetness and fruitiness.

This cocktail is perfect for any occasion, but it is especially well-suited for race-viewing parties. The combination of bold flavors and sophisticated presentation will make it a hit with your guests. To make one, add 1 ½ oz bourbon, 1 oz sweet vermouth, and ¼ oz maraschino liqueur to a mixing glass. Stir all ingredients with ice, then strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a brandy-soaked cherry and enjoy!

The Kentucky Mule

If you’re looking for a tart, cool drink to enjoy while you watch the races, the Kentucky mule is a great adaptation of the Moscow mule. To make one, fill a copper mug or highball glass with ice, then add 2 oz bourbon and ½ oz lime juice. Top with ginger beer, stir gently, garnish with a lime wedge and mint sprig, then enjoy!

For a Drink With a Fun Name: The “Horse’s Neck” Cocktail

The Horse’s Neck is a classic cocktail that has been around for over 100 years. It is a simple drink to make, but it is full of flavor. The original Horse’s Neck was made with non-alcoholic ginger ale, but it is now more commonly made with bourbon, brandy, or American rye whiskey.

To make this cocktail, you’ll need to first fill a highball glass with ice. Next, add 2 oz of your choice of bourbon, brandy, or American rye whiskey. Top with ginger ale (about 4 oz), stir well, and garnish with a lemon peel. Enjoy!

Tips for Making the Best Kentucky Derby Cocktails at Your Party:

Here at Distillery Nearby, we love talking about cocktails and events where cocktails are served and enjoyed. The Kentucky Derby is certainly no exception. However, if you want to throw a dynamite party, you’ll need some dynamite drinks. To do so, we recommend you keep the following tips and tricks in mind:

  • Use fresh ingredients. This is especially important for fruits and herbs, as they will add the most flavor to your cocktails. If you’ll be using peels and rinds, also consider using organic produce.
  • Use good-quality spirits. This will make a big difference in the taste of your cocktails.
  • Chill your glasses. This will help to keep your cocktails cold and refreshing. We also recommend that you buy your spirits from local distilleries, if possible.
  • Use a cocktail shaker. This will help to mix your cocktails properly and create aeration, which will add flavor and complexity.
  • Garnish your cocktails. This will add a touch of color and flavor, and it will also make your cocktails more visually appealing.
  • Serve your cocktails immediately. This will ensure that they are at their best, and not watered down.

Distillery Nearby: Your Source for Local, Craft Spirits for Your Kentucky Derby Cocktails

The Kentucky Derby is a time to celebrate, and what better way to do that than with a delicious cocktail made with local, craft spirits? Here at Distillery Nearby, we believe that supporting local businesses is important. We want to be your one-stop shop for finding the perfect, local spirits for your Derby Day party. So, what are you waiting for? View our local distillery listings today and start planning your perfect Kentucky Derby party!

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