Kentucky Derby Cocktails

 

Cocktails for the Kentucky Derby

It’s almost time for the annual Race for the Roses, and what better way to celebrate than with some amazing Kentucky Derby cocktails! Of course the classic mint julep is the first drink that comes to mind when thinking of the Derby, but here are recipes for five amazing options to round out your race day celebration!




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THE ROYAL STRETCHKentucky Derby cocktails

  • 1 1/2 oz. Crown Royal
  • 3 oz. sparkling water or club soda
  • Splash of cherry juice or grenadine

Serve over ice in a Collins glass with mint leaf garnish.

CHOCOLATEY BOURBON SHAKE

This is a yummy dessert shake for adults!Kentuckyt Derby cocktails

  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 cups mint chocolate chip ice cream

Combine in blender until you get the desired consistency. Serves two.

MINT JULEP SWEET TEA

We found this combination of two southern favorites at Southern Living Magazine

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leavesKentucky Derby cocktails
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 cups cold sweetened tea
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • Crushed ice
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

Combine first 3 ingredients in a 2-qt. pitcher. Press mint leaves against sides of pitcher with back of spoon to release flavors. Stir in tea and bourbon. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish, if desired.

BASIL LEMON MOONSHINEKentucky Derby cocktail

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups shredded fresh basil
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle moonshine (such as Ole Smoky Original Tennessee Moonshine)
  • 2 (2- x 1-inch) lemon peel strips
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 (2- x 1-inch) lemon peel strips

Cook sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Cool 10 minutes. Stir in shredded basil, moonshine, and 2 lemon peel strips. Pour into a large glass jar. Seal with lid, and chill 24 hours to 2 weeks. Strain into a bowl; discard solids. Return to jar. Add basil leaves and 2 lemon peel strips. Refrigerate up to 2 months.

MINT VODKA MARTINIKentucky Derby cocktails

  • 6 mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. simple syrup
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 3 Tbsp. vodka

In a cocktail shaker, muddle mint and syrup. Add ice and vodka and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass.

Kentucky Derby Parrty ideasFor lots of great Kentucky Derby party ideas, be sure to skip over to our Derby party page! Or, follow us on Pinterest!

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St. Patrick’s Day Party Drinks

St. Patricks Day party drinks

This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday… just in time for the weekend. Now that’s what I’d call lucky! Here are some St. Patrick’s Day party drinks to help you celebrate from the morning to the wee hours. Sure and begorrah!

Irish Coffee Drinks

Traditional Irish Coffee:

  • Coffee
  • Bushmills Irish Whiskey
  • Baileys Irish Cream
  • Whipped cream on top (sprinkle with green sugar for some special flare!)

Variations you might try:

  • Swap the coffee for hot chocolate — yummy!
  • Make a frozen version of Irish coffee using mint coffee Irish Cream and adding some coffee ice cream
  • Make an Irish martini by swapping the Bushmills for vodka and drizzling in some caramel

Irish Beer Drinks

Black and TanSt. Patrick's Day party drinks

  • First fill your glass halfway with Harp Ale
  • Then slowly add Guinness Draught Stout by pouring it over the back of a spoon so it rolls down the inside of your glass and doesn’t mix with the ale

Black Velvet — Mix one half Guinness with one half champagne — so fancy!

Guinness Float — Add vanilla ice cream to a glass of Guinness for a drink and dessert all in one.

Fighting Irish — Add one shot of Bushmills to a glass of Harp Ale


 For more great St. Patrick’s Day party ideas be sure to check out our website, Creative Party Themes!




Gift Wrapping Party

wrapping party

Have you been busy holiday shopping only to find yourself now staring at a pile of unwrapped presents? Why not invite over a few friends for a gift wrapping party! Here are some suggestions for turning this holiday chore into a fun day of catching up with friends while you check one more thing off your to-do list!

The Invites:

It’s best to limit your guest list for a gift wrapping party to 2-3 friends so that everyone has room to spread out and get creative. Consider using a free online invitation such as this one, available from Evite.com.

On your invitation, ask each guest to bring their gifts to be wrapped, along with 3 rolls of wrapping paper, 1 roll of tape, 1 pair of scissors, 2+ varieties of ribbon, and any other fun decorative items they may have to contribute.

The Set Up:

This party is about wrapping, chatting, nibbling, and getting into the holiday mood. Here’s how to set thing up…

Start by creating a festive atmosphere in your home. Light a fire or some holiday scented candles, and play some classic holiday music to get everyone in the spirit of the season.

Set your wrappping stations up in a room with a big table (or a cleared floor area) so that everyone can spread out a bit. On a side table, create a gift wrap supply station with all of your supplies, such as:


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  • A variety of wrapping paper
  • Tape (you might include some colored tape or even duct tape)
  • Scissors (or pinking shears)
  • Ribbon (twine and raffia also work well)
  • Colored pens
  • Decorative tags
  • Ink stamps
  • Any other embellishments you might have, such as small bells, pine cones, candy canes, or whatever strikes your fancy.

In the kitchen, create a buffet table with a few of your favorite nibbles and drinks. It’s a good idea to keep the food mostly separate from the wrapping to avoid spills. Here are a few easy menu suggestions:

As everyone completes their wrapping, assign them an area to stack up their gifts. Then at the end of the day everything will be organized and ready to go.

Looking for some more fun holiday party themes?
Visit our Christmas Party Themes page at Creative-Party-Themes.com!




Great Cocktails for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving drink ideas

Well, the leaves are falling and the weather is turning nippy. It must be getting close to Thanksgiving! Is it your turn to host the big dinner this year! Here are some options for great cocktails for Thanksgiving (or anytime, really!) Cheers!

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1. The Pumpkin Pie–tini

Yes, we’re bringing tis one back and putting it at the top of the list because it’s so dang delicious!

Here’s how to make it:

  • 1 oz. milk
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ oz. Vanilla vodka
  • 1 ½ oz. crème de cacao

Using a small amount of honey, rim martini glass with graham cracker crumbs.

Shake milk and pumpkin puree over ice to combine. Pour in remaining ingredients and shake well. Strain into the martini glass.

 

2. Cranberry Hamiltons

These are a party favorite around the holidays in our house. Perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmastime!

  • A shot of tequila
  • Half a shot of Rose’s lime juice
  • Three shots of cranberry juice
  •  A slice of lime.

Serve over ice.

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3. Apple Pie Spiced Cider (with or without alcohol)

Mmm…apple pie. We adapted this cozy warm drink from a Martha Stewart recipe.

1 1/4 quarts apple cider

  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 7 whole cinnamon sticks, (6 sticks for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Ground cloves
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • 1/2 cup Calvados, or other brandy (optional)

Mix together all of the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and add the brandy if you want it in there. Pour into a large pitcher, straining out the solids. Serve the drinks in mugs garnished with cinnamon sticks.

4. Hard Cider Sangria

  • 1 cup quartered and thinly sliced unpeeled green, yellow and red apples
  • 1 navel orange—quartered and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 cup apple juice, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup apple brandy
  • One 22-ounce bottle hard apple cider, chilled
  • Ice

In a pitcher, combine the apples with the orange, apple juice, lemon juice and brandy. Just before serving, add the hard cider. Serve in tall glasses over ice.   (from foodandwine.com)


5. Mulled Wine

Another warm cocktail favorite for all the winter holidays. This one will also make your house smell fantastic!

  • 1 1/2 cups Port wine
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup Cointreau or Gran Marnier
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • zest of 2 oranges, cut in strips
  • 10 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bottles dry red wine

Combine all the ingredients except the 2 bottles of red wine in a heavy large pot with a lid. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until reduced to 2 cups, 12-15 minutes. Add red wine and warm over low heat with the lid on the pot. Do not boil.  Strain your drink into glasses or mugs.  Garnish with fresh orange slices.

 

6. Pumpkin Ale served with a cinnamon-sugar rim

This is my (non-cocktail loving) husband’s favorite fall drink. Better than that, it’s super easy! You can find pumpkin ale all over at this time of year. Some good ones include Blue Moon Harvest Moon Ale, Pumpking, Samuel Adams Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale, and Buffalo Bill’s Pumpkin Ale.

To serve, keep your beer steins in the freezer for a while to get them cold. Pour a mixture of sugar and cinnamon on a small plate. Twist the mouth of your beer stein in the cinnamon mixture to get a nice sugary rim. Enjoy!

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