Kentucky Derby Party Ideas
Ricotta Crostini with Three Toppings
Chef Allison Jenkins makes her own ultra-creamy ricotta (you can also use store-bought), then adds different toppings.
When New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian mixes mint juleps at Bar UnCommon, he recites an ode, written in the 1890s by a Kentucky newspaperman, that calls the cocktail "the zenith of man's pleasure...the very dream of drinks."
At The Woodsman Tavern in Portland, Oregon, mixologist Evan Zimmerman infuses cherry liqueur with the smoked tea Lapsang souchong. The result? An excellent riff on an old-fashioned.
Country Ham and Pickle Crostini
This four-ingredient snack couldn't be simpler: Just top toasts with sliced country ham and pickled vegetables. Sommelier Matt Tunstall of Stems & Skins in South Carolina opts for a Vouvray with these crostinis.
Kentucky Hot Brown
Star chef Bobby Flay smothers an open-face turkey sandwich with cheese sauce and bacon for his version of the over-the-top Louisville classic.
Deviled Eggs With Country Ham
Chef Ford Fry uses European techniques and flavors at the neighborhood bistro JCT. His deviled eggs get their terrific flavor from goat cheese, Dijon mustard and cornichons, plus a topping of country ham from Benton's in Madisonville, Tennessee.
Crab Cakes with Horseradish Cream
Lump crabmeat is mixed with only enough bread crumbs and mayonnaise to hold it together, then coated with more crumbs and fried to a golden brown. A mixture of sour cream and horseradish provides lively accompaniment.
Not all of the drinks at this newly renovated 1940s diner have risque names, but, says bar manager Nick Kosevich, "It's great when a 60-year-old lady orders a Panty Dropper."
Old-Fashioned Banana Bread
This extraordinarily simple and tasty banana bread (with a moist center and crispy crust) is a Ritter family heirloom. "The recipe has been in our family for generations," Lisa Ritter says.
Shrimp Cocktail with Marie Rose Sauce
Chef and Food Network Canada star Anthony Sedlak spikes the '70s throwback Marie Rose sauce (mayonnaise and a touch of ketchup) with brandy and horseradish. It's fantastic with shrimp cocktail as well as fried seafood like battered cod.