Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Time For The Derby!

Written by Patti on April 29th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

As you may (or may not) know, this weekend is the Kentucky Derby.  But you don’t have to hightail it to Churchill Downs to get in on the fun. Just grab yourself a fancy hat (for the ladies) and a seersucker suit (for the gents) and throw yourself a soiree.

And, although not everyone enjoys placing a bet, if you do, you can go to the official Kentucky Derby site and bet online.

Everyone knows you cannot celebrate Derby Day without a proper mint julep and appropriate nibbles. Let me tell you how to make your party authentic.

Photo Courtesy of

Mint Julep

  • 1 scant ounce minted simple syrup
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 2 ounces bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve)
  • Fresh mint sprig, for garnish

To highball glass or silver Julep cup, add minted simple syrup, then 1 cup crushed ice, bourbon, and splash of water. Add enough of remaining ice to almost fill glass. Stir well and garnish with mint sprig.

You don’t have to have a silver mint julep cup, but it sure is fancy, don’t you think?  And for silly fun, I would decorate the table with “My Little Pony” characters (you all with children can pilfer their toy boxes).  You could also print out a “Pony Pool” sheet with all the contenders on it so you could have an in-house wager, too. You could also cover your table with astroturf, like the infield.

But you are also going to need something to nosh on. Can’t have your folks drinking bourbon on an empty stomach, I say.

Doesn’t Wild Turkey Ribs sound delicious?I would round this out with your favorite biscuit recipe and how about some Pecan “Pah” bars from Scratch Bakery in Atlanta (if you are going to order these, call TODAY-Thursday, for a special order – 404.585.1116)? Of course, you could always add a veggie – how about pan seared okra? Super yummy and super easy. Just take your cast iron pan, put a bit of oil in it, trim your okra and pop them in the pan and let me char a bit. You will become a lover of okra if you weren’t before. Season with lots of salt and pepper.

Wild Turkey Glazed Ribs
(courtesy of

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup Wild Turkey or other good quality bourbon, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon coarse (kosher) salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 racks pork spareribs (about 2 pounds each)

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line with aluminum foil a shallow roasting pan large enough to hold the ribs in one layer.

2. Combine the bourbon, garlic, honey, mustard, Tabasco, salt, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl. Stir well to mix.

3. Brush the rack of ribs on both sides with the glaze, then arrange, meaty-side up, in the prepared pan, making sure they don’t overlap. Roast the ribs for 20 to 30 minutes to render as much of the fat as possible; pour or spoon off the fat and discard. Reduce the oven temperature to 275°F. and cook the ribs, brushing with reserved marinade every 30 minutes and turning several times, until they’re tender and the glaze has caramelized and become crispy and blackened in places, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. Let the ribs cook for 10 minutes after the last brush with the marinade.

4. To serve, cut the racks into individual ribs and pile them on a platter.

Go on out there and celebrate – and ladies, there is still plenty of time to go hat shopping (click here for inspiration). I have a fabulous red one I picked up in New Orleans.

Isn't This Hat The Bees Knees? I Love It!

xoxo, Patti


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Clint says:

    Those ribs sound amazing!

    Thanks for posting!