Ben and I appear to have started an annual Kentucky Derby party tradition. I sincerely don't think there's a better sporting event to theme a party around. The spring color palette, the pretty dresses and awesome hats (though I didn't have one to wear), the two minutes of amazing horse-racing, bets that you can place based on awesome horse names alone, and of course, the quintessential mint julep.
We decided to go spring floral + mint-themed this year (a no-brainer). Ben made an awesome mint julep and, like all of his cocktails, it was readily consumed until we ran through an entire fifth of Buffalo Trace and about two bunches of farmer's market fresh mint. Whoops! He made the juleps extra special by making his own turbinado simple syrup. I'll be sharing the recipe on the blog later this week.
In addition to the cocktails, we also served some pretty easy-to-prepare but high impact appetizers. Ben made some fantastic meatballs and watermelon, mint, mozzarella skewers with a honey balsamic reduction. I made my usual spread, including a french baguette with a hard Oregon cow's cheese, wasabi deviled eggs, and then an amazingly delicious yet easy rosemary cracker with fig jam and goat cheese. We served some cheddar popcorn and fruit on the side and our guests brought some amazing snacks as well.
Overall, it was an awesome derby party with great friends all jammed into our small apartment, and though I lost all of my $6 betting on Vicars in Trouble and Wicked Strong, Ben walked away with $12 (he almost recouped his investment) and everyone got a good two minutes of cheering in!
Did you watch the derby? How did you celebrate?