Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bourbon, Pot, and Horses

The Frugal Hostess has wanted to go to the Kentucky Derby forever, since she started swilling bourbon and realized that all hats look good on her (all sunglasses, too – wildly lucky, that FruHo!  These facts are unrelated to the bourbon swilling, by the way).   The horse race is fine, she supposes, but she was never one of those My Friend Flicka girls.  What’s really freaking cool is the fact that everyone dresses up and wears hats and has a super-posh day – all for a sport that lasts about five minutes.  Um, that seems excessive, and yet, glorious.  Well, that “frugal” is in her name for a reason, so TFH will have to make do with watching the Derby on TV and hosting a Derby Day party.

[Huh.  There's supposed to be a picture here, but it seems that Blogger has changed the way you do that and thus made it impossible, at least for the moment.  WTF, Blogger?]

There are a ton of traditional Kentucky Derby foods, some of which are kind of gross.  There’s the Hot Brown, a sandwich of mammoth size and weird ingredients.  There’s the Benedictine Spread that’s made of cucumbers and dyed green, pecan pie (yuck!), and, of course, mint julips.

For our purposes, we are going to craft the traditional Derby Day foods into something resembling food that normal people whose brains aren’t being squeezed by hats would eat.  Thus, the following menu.

Hot Brown Sliders
Watercress Finger Sandwiches
Salad of Spring Lettuce and Baby Peas
Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Butter and Fresh Chives
Praline Ice Cream Sundaes
Mint Julips

Since the race only lasts about 30 seconds, and the food ain’t that great, you need to put together a bunch of games and other diversions if you want your guests to stay longer than 15 minutes.  Here are some suggestions.

The main attraction of this party is getting to wear a hat.  Obviously, everyone (or is it just TFH?) wishes that the days of required hat-wearing for both men and women had not ended.    So be sure that you enforce a strict “hats-required” policy at your party.  Have a hat beauty pageant and award a blanket of roses – OK, maybe just a bouquet of roses – to the winner.

Another great thing about Derby Day is drinking bourbon before the sun goes down.  What with the profusion of small-batch bourbon in recent years, why don’t you get three or four bottles and do a tasting?  Bonus points if you make your guests wear blindfolds.

Last, you can play “Horse in a Hat.”  All you need is a designated Derby Hat, paper, pens, and some not-too-broke party guests.  Write down all the names of the horses on pieces of paper.  (You can find a list of horses in the race at www.kentuckyderby.com.)   Put the pieces of folder paper in your "Derby Hat" and mix them up.   Everyone bets by paying $1 and pulling a name out of the hat.  You can have some newspapers and a laptop set up for people to research the horses that they picked, so they can brag about their stats and just generally feel informed.  Then, after the trash-talking has settled down, watch the race.  The person that has the winning horse collects the pot.  Of money, that is.

Photo by L. Burchfield

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  1. Have you been to Steeplechase at Callay Gardens? It is super posh (except for the portapotties) and everyone wears hats. You can host a party there. Buy a ticket for a section along the fence, hang up a pretty banner for Frugal Hostess, invite your friends and party poshly. Call me if you need a hat wearing friend!

  2. I want to wear crazy hats and swill bourbon with you. Who needs a race? Next time I come to Atlanta, we need to make that happen. :)

  3. I did not know watercress had fingers.
    2. there seems to be a strong emphasis on fingers in the menu.
    3. I'll take 3 fingers of bourbon please :)

  4. Karen & Kristina - It's a date! Next time one or both of you are in town, we'll find us a horse race and do it to it. Duane - you are lucky you still have fingers, as far as I'm concerned.


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