Athens, Georgia
Welcome to my little world- I am thrilled that you are here. My most sincere hope is that this little blog is a source of laughter, inspiration and some seriously fabulous food (even if it is vegan!). Is it possible to maintain a vegetarian lifestyle below the Mason Dixon line? Come along with me and find out as I pound the pavement, travel and eat my way through life. Cheers!
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Saturday Soiree- Derby Party

Any southern belle worth her weight in biscuits knows how to throw a respectable Derby party. While watching the race at Churchill Downs should appear on everybody’s bucket list, you certainly don’t have to attend to enjoy a fabulous Derby soiree. Derby parties can range from a backyard barbecue to a white gloved affair and everything in between. I tend to favor throwing a more casual party that sets guests at ease and allows for easy conversation.

The Derby classics, of course! Suggestions include: Benedictine sandwiches (recipe here) , pimento cheese sandwiches (my own addition with recipe here), hot brown sliders, bourbon balls (recipe here), and Derby pie. After that, be inventive and have fun. Good ideas include shaved ham sandwiches on buttermilk biscuits, a homemade vegetable tray (don’t even get me started on the evils of store bought vegetable trays) with dressing, pasta salad and burgoo.


There is one drink that simply must be present at any Derby party and it is, without question, a mint julep. The julep is the iconic drink of the south and the beverage of choice at Churchill Downs. While I am a big fan of bourbon, guests certainly appreciate having alcohol free options such as sweet tea and sparkling lemonade. Serve tea and lemonade in oversized serving jars.
Mint juleps (recipe here), Derby Coolers (recipe here), Sweet Tea


Have bluegrass music playing softly in the background. Be sure to turn off the music in time for the race. A nice touch is to print off copies of My Old Kentucky Home for guests to take home as souvenirs. Print the lyrics off on cardstock and then paste onto thick dark blue paper for a more polished look. For those of you who are familiar- the song is sung right before the race and is a nice way to engage guests.
See full size image


Have fun with your dress. Are you a big floral girl, a Lilly devotee or perhaps a bit more laid back? This is your opportunity to let your personality shine. Wear something comfortable yet chic (it can be a long day).
Milly via Saks

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Lilly Pulitzer
Why, a big hat of course! Whether at the track or at home, don a hat and add a dash of whimsy to your day.

A little betting can be a lot of fun. Put all of the names of the horses in a festive Derby hat and mix them up. Everyone pays a designated amount, say $1, to pull a name out of the hat. When the race is complete, the person that has the winning horse collects the pot. Or, offer a percentage of the pot for the first place horse, a smaller percentage to the second place horse, and an even smaller percentage to the third place horse.
Stick races for kids- If there are children in attendance, they will enjoy decorating and racing stick horses (which can be found at any toy store).

I like to place riding paraphernalia such as riding helmets, horseshoes, jumping boots, saddles (cleaned!) and silks around the entertaining area. A garland of red roses is presented to the winner of the race and red roses should decorate your home as well. I have oversized silver julep cups that I use as centerpieces overflowing with red roses.
Additionally, I like to place literature about the great Bluegrass State, horse racing and horses all around the home so guests can have the opportunity to learn a bit more about the event.
{Images from woodfordreserve.com,ehow.com, traditionalmusic.co.uk, cnn.com, bobbiesridingcamp.co.uk}



blydesign said...

Wow! This is great info! I really want to throw a derby party now! Thanks for sharing :)

Laura Trevey said...

The best post!! I love the Derby and watch it every year ~~ so fun!

Amy R. said...

I won't be going to the Derby this year, maybe just a picnic with friends at Keenland. I still like to wear a hat for the event in good spirit. I can't believe it is already here. Great post!

The Rural Socialite said...

I just saw you on La Dolce Vita's comments page and had to check out your blog - it didn't disappoint! This Derby party is a fabulous idea. I threw one several years ago (and unfortunately a hurricane blew it out!) but it was so fun to put together. Consider also creating an invitation that looks like a ticket to the Derby; I got the idea from John Travolta's airline-themed party a few years back.

The Consummate Hostess said...

Hi blydesign! I hope that you do host a Derby party. If you decide to, send me pictures! I would love to see. Cheers!

The Consummate Hostess said...

Hi Rural Socialite-

Fabulous name, my dear! I love your idea about the ticket, what fun!

The Consummate Hostess said...

Thanks for your comment, Amy R. A picnic at Keeneland sounds like the perfect day! I adore Keeneland- my husband and I actually took our engagement photos there. Enjoy your picnic!

Drew Watts said...

This party is really looking good. Want to throw my friends a lovely party at one of Chicago event space. There will do great d├ęcor arrangements along with arrangements for delicious food. Will take my sister’s help as she is an expert in it.

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