April’s almost over — can you believe it? To us, the beginning of May doesn’t just mean the end of (hopefully) April showers, it also means that the Triple Crown is right around the corner. Big hats, colorful dresses, delicious cocktails and beautiful horses — what’s not to love?
We’re in love with these derby party ideas from the gals at Camp Makery. These ladies know the ins and outs of hosting the perfect party, and the style, tips and tricks in this shoot are no exception. If you feel out of practice throwing a party, derby season is a great time to start — these parties already have a set theme, decor and cocktail menu. All you have to do is add your own personal twist!
Keep reading to see the gorgeous photos and party tips from Camp Makery, featuring some of our favorite barware!
Photography: Haley Sheffield Photography
Concept and Styling: Ashley Pepitone of Camp Makery
Florals: Juli Vaughn Designs
Hat Designs, Hair and Makeup: Andrea Carter
Party tip #1: Each jockey has their own signature silks — patterned in bright and bold colors. Print or make a chart so that guests can see what their horse’s silks are and make washi tape straw flags to help them cheer their horse on!
Party tip #2: Encourage guests to wear their race day best — sundresses and hats for the ladies, bowties and gingham for the gentlemen.
Party tip #3: Deep red florals and greenery add casual elegance to any gathering, but we love how Juli Vaughn used the combination to mimic winners’ floral blankets at the end of each race.
Now for our favorite part: cocktail time! Each Triple Crown race (The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes) has its own traditional, signature cocktail made with bourbon (we love using Bulleit Bourbon, stored in our glass Library Decanter). Keep reading to learn how to make each one!
Kentucky Derby’s Mint Julep:
3 to 5 fresh mint leaves
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
.5 oz water
1.33 oz Bulleit Rye Bourbon
Muddle the mint leaves, powdered sugar, and water. Fill the cup with crushed or shaved ice and pour the bourbon on top. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Preakness Stakes’ Black Eyed Susan:
1 1/4 oz Bulleit Bourbon
3/4 oz vodka
3 oz sweet and sour mix
2 oz orange juice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass (our Library Glass Double Old Fashioned Glass is pictured here). Garnish with orange slice and cherry.
Belmont Stakes’s Belmont Breeze:
1 1/2 oz Bulleit Bourbon
1/2 oz cream sherry
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Splash of orange juice
Splash of cranberry juice
5 mint leaves
In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup. Add ice and the remaining ingredients, and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled rocks glass filled with fresh ice and garnish with a sprig of mint and an orange peel or slice.
Keep all of your barware neat and tidy in a classic tray, like our Saddle Leather Tray. For those that prefer beer, keep a bucket of ice cold brews at the bar, with our Horse Head Bottle Opener on hand.
Bracelets: Alex and Ani, Kentucky Derby Collection
Linens and Silk “Race Day Scarf”: Equine Divine, Aiken SC
Dresses and Shoes: Francesca’s Collections