Kentucky Derby

April 28, 2011

AND THEY'RE OFF!  While the rest of the world focuses on today's Royal Wedding, Simply Swanky is getting our readers ready for the Kentucky Derby.  This year's derby is held on Saturday, May 7th, with the bell for the 137th post time of approximately 6:15 pm (EST).  Below, you'll find easy inspiration for the entire party, from invites to decor to food.

1.  Invitations

These cool, minty green invites from Swanky Press have vintage horses and a banner  - it's a blend of classic and cool.  If you think it's too late to order invites, it's not.  We sell digital versions for $16 (no matter how many you want to print or email).

2. Rose Pops

The minute I saw these rose cake pops from Sweet Cheeks Tasty Treats, I was a fan.  They look so complicated, but the tutorial is so simple to follow.  That's exactly the mix I love for a party recipe!

3. Mint Julep Cupcakes

Of course, we're all supposed to love a mint julep at the derby, but personally, it's a bit too strong for me.  This cupcake however, hits the spot!  View the recipe at celebrations.com.

4.  Men In Argyle Socks

This picture makes me happy.  Enough said.  (photo credit:  cooper carras photograpy)

5.  Derby Hats

The iconic Derby hat - large and elegant.  Custom, one of a kind hats can be found at AwardDesign out of Los Angeles.  They have an etsy shop for easy shopping, too!

6.  Horse Shoe Ring

Good luck and style, wrapped into one pretty ring.  This handmade, sterling silver ring was even inspired by (the artist) Lisa's visit to Churchill Downs!  Available at TheBeadGirl on etsy.  You can check her out on facebook, too.

7. Mint Julep

The Mint Julep is the classic drink of the Kentucky Derby.  Each year, over 120,00 mint juleps are served at the official Kentucky Derby over the two-day race event (wow!).  Those drinks require 1,000 pounds of freshly harvested mint. Here's the simple recipe:

  • 4 fresh mint sprigs
  • 2-1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp water

Muddle  mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water in a collins glass (an 18 to 20 oz narrow tumbler). Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig.

If you want the more complicated, syrup-based recipe (hand-made syrup, of course), you can find it onFood Networ.  However, this IS the simply swanky blog, so I figured you'd prefer the quick recipe!

8.  The Flowers

The Kentucky Derby is known as the Run for the Roses.  Red roses seem obvious, but I love the idea of wheat grass mixed with white roses.  It's fresh and modern, but still picks up the classic tones of the Derby.  This gorgeous arrangement is available at An Octopus' Garden in Las Vegas.

9.  That Extra Special Touch

Want to wow your guests?  Buy a bar of this great Felted Mint Julep Soap for each bathroom and the kitchen. At only $6, it's an inexpensive way to carry the party theme throughout the entire house.  Available from Soap Werks (out of Kentucky, naturally) at their etsy shop.

10.  Horse Coasters

These painting-based horse coasters would look great laid casually about during the party.  Available from Creative Coaster Chick on etsy.

11.  Tissue Poms

For those of you familiar with Simply Swanky, you already know I love tissue poms!  I thought the light green hues in these would really look fresh instead of the traditional Derby Red.  (photo credit:  green wedding shoes blog)  Be sure to check out my diy tutorial on making poms - it's easier than you think!  

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