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  • Writer's pictureDanny Brewer

The Ultimate Kentucky Derby Party Drink Guide

What do you drink at a Kentucky Derby party? As the Kentucky Derby gallops closer, the excitement for the iconic horse race isn't just about the thundering hooves and thrilling finishes. It's equally about the rich traditions, especially those surrounding Derby Day celebrations. Central to these traditions is the array of drinks that capture the essence of the Derby, offering a blend of Southern charm and festive flair. Whether you're hosting a grand Derby party or enjoying the race from the comfort of your home, knowing what drinks to serve can make your experience more authentic and enjoyable. Here's your ultimate guide to the must-have beverages for a Kentucky Derby party.

mint julep

Mint Julep: The Quintessential Derby Drink

No Derby party would be complete without the Mint Julep, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. This refreshing cocktail, made with bourbon, fresh mint, sugar, and crushed ice, is synonymous with Derby Day. Served in a silver or pewter cup, it not only quenches thirst but also honors a tradition that dates back to the early days of the Derby.

Beyond the Julep: Bourbon and More

While the Mint Julep steals the spotlight, other bourbon-based cocktails play supporting roles in the Derby drink lineup. Offer your guests variety with a Bourbon Smash, Old Fashioned, or a Kentucky Mule. Each of these cocktails showcases bourbon's versatility and adds depth to your Derby Day menu.

Oaks Lily: The Other Derby Classic

The Oaks Lily, named after the Kentucky Oaks race, is a vibrant addition to any Derby party. With vodka, lemon juice, cranberry juice, triple sec, and simple syrup, garnished with a blackberry and a lemon slice, it's a refreshing choice for those looking for something other than bourbon.

Elevating the Celebration with Champagne

Champagne or sparkling wine brings a touch of elegance to your Derby celebration. For a festive twist, add a splash of bourbon and a sugar cube to your champagne for a unique Derby cocktail.

Inclusive Options: Sweet Tea and Lemonade

Not everyone indulges in alcoholic beverages, so offering Southern staples like Sweet Tea and Lemonade ensures all your guests can enjoy the festivities. These refreshing options are perfect for toasting to the winners and enjoying the warm spring day. has curated a fantastic selection of Derby-inspired cocktails. Check out their slideshow of cocktails to find the perfect sip for your Derby Day festivities. Explore Kentucky Derby Cocktails here.

Your Kentucky Derby party is an opportunity to dive into the rich traditions of the event, and the drinks you serve play a crucial role in that experience. From the classic Mint Julep to a variety of bourbon cocktails and non-alcoholic staples, your beverage menu can capture the spirit of the Derby. So, raise a glass to the fastest two minutes in sports, and let the celebrations begin!

danny brewer

Danny Brewer, President and CEO of Feel The Beat Entertainment and owner of BAMA Casino Company, brings over 30 years of experience in entertainment. He oversees teams that specialize in premium casino entertainment and top-tier customer service. His ventures, including Feel The Beat Entertainment and Cool Shots Photo Booth, cater to a diverse array of events from corporate to private parties. Renowned in the industry, Brewer is a speaker at trade shows and sets high standards for clients across various scales.

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