Kentucky Derby Party Food

by Joanne on May 3, 2015

This fun filled day of hats and horses wouldn’t be the same without some Kentucky Bourbon and mint mixed into to just about everything on the menu.  The recipes were based on what I found from Thrillist, tweaked a little by yours truly. 

*The Derby might be over but The Preakness is coming up. Get ready to party again!

The Menu:  

Bourbon Balls to get the party started.  I reduced the amount of bourbon in this recipe by half and it was still very strong. Just a warning.

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New England Style Mint Julep – these are good to sip while chatting with friends and preparing the rest of the menu.

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Black Eyed Pea Burgers served on top mixed greens. 

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Mint Julep Cake – just in case you enjoy chewing your bourbon and mint instead of drinking it.

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Bourbon Truffle Balls – Super easy!

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  • 12 1/2 oz dark chocolate *I used Callebaut which to me, is the best chocolate available.
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 12 oz pound cake
  • 3/4 cups Kentucky Bourbon
  • dark chocolate coating  *You can melt semi sweet chocolate chips for dipping if you like.

Heat the cream in a pan over medium heat just until it steams.  Pour it over the dark chocolate in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15 minutes.

In another bowl, crumble the pound cake then stir in the bourbon.  Now add the cake to the chocolate mixture and stir ‘til blended.  Cover and put in the fridge for about 2 hours to set.

Melt the dark chocolate coating.  Scoop out truffle mixture with a teaspoon, form into a ball and dip in melted chocolate.  Set on parchment paper to set.

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New England Mint Julep (1 julep) – Can I have another Pllleeeaaasse!

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  • 8 – 10 mint leaves
  • 2 oz Kentucky Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp orange marmalade
  • mint sprigs for garnish

Gently bruise the mint leaves in a mixer tin.   Add the bourbon, vermouth, syrup, marmalade then fill the tin with crushed ice.  Gently stir the ingredients, add more ice and stir again.  Serve with ice and mint sprigs.

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 Black Eyed Pea Burgers (6 – 8  burgers)– These make me feel healthy again

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  • 5 oz shredded carrots
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/2 of an Anaheim pepper, diced –heat varies with these so if you get a hot one, you may want to reduce the amount used.
  • 1/2 TBS minced garlic
  • 1/2 TBS cumin
  • 1/2 TBS paprika
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 2 TBS white wine
  • 1 (15 oz) can of fire roasted diced tomatoes – do not drain
  • 1 small bunch of collard greens chopped, washed, thick stems removed
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of Black-Eyed peas, drain and smash
  • 1 TBS Wickles pickles or your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 TBS black pepper
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup rolled oats (uncooked)
  • Cheese for topping (optional)

Sauté over high heat in the olive oil, the carrots until brown, about 4 – 5 minutes.  Add the onion and pepper and cook another 5 minutes. 

Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, salt and cook for 45 seconds.

Deglaze the pan with white wine and cook 10 – 12 minutes until dry. 

Puree the tomatoes and collards. Add to the pan.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. 

Add black eyed peas, hot sauce, oregano, black pepper and mix.  Transfer to a sheet pan and allow to cool. 

In a large bowl, combine the cooked mixture with parsley, breadcrumbs and oats.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Form 6 burgers and serve over mixed greens (or on a bun).  If you want to top with cheese, preheat the broiler.  Top each burger with cheese then broil just until melted and lightly browned.

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Lets Eat Dessert!  WaHOOOO!  *That could be the Mint Julep talking.  …. another please.

Mint Julep Cake – This is when one serving of cake isn’t enough

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  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup low fat buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 TBS water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp Kentucky Bourbon
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 7 oz Low fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp Creme de Menthe liqueur


Preheat oven to 325 F and grease and flour a 10” Bundt cake pan.

Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and soda together in a bowl. Set aside.

In a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the buttermilk and vanilla and mix.  Add the eggs one at a time. 

Turn into prepared pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes, until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

For the Bourbon Sauce:  In a pan over medium heat, mix the confectioners sugar with the 1/3 cup butter and water.  Stir until melted, remove from heat and stir in the bourbon. 

When the cake has been removed from the oven and is still warm, poke holes in the top and pour the bourbon sauce over it.  Allow to cool to room temperature before trying to remove from Bundt pan.

For the Mint Frosting:  Melt the white chocolate with the condensed milk over low heat, stirring constantly until melted.  Remove the heat source and stir in the creme de menthe.  Allow to cool about 15 minutes before spreading evenly over the cooled cake. Garnish with mint leaves. Chill to allow the frosting to set but remove from fridge 30 minutes prior to eating. 

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Now I want to know, how did you celebrate Derby day and what did you eat

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