Kentucky Derby Day This Saturday: St. Louis, Louisville, and Mint Juleps

Compiled by Staff with assistance from Food/Travel Editor Suzanne Corbett

The Kentucky Derby is coming up, Saturday May 6, 2023. The Vegas odds to win the Kentucky Derby in 2023 are ou, but are always subject to change.  Grammy Award winner Carly Pearce, who is from Northern Kentucky, will perform the national anthem before the Derby.

St. Louis Watch Parties

There will be Derby parties around St. Louis and here are a few suggestions:

  • Gateway City Derby Experience 2023 on May 6. An advertisement for the event says: “Join the St. Louis and East St. Louis Alphas for the best Kentucky Derby Watch Party Experience in the Midwest outside of Louisville!!” The party will be Saturday, May 6 · 3 – 7:30pm CDT at Four Seasons Hotel – St. Louis999 N. 2nd Street St. Louis, MO 63102, For information CLICK HERE.
  • Fairmont Park will be showing the Derby on May 6. For information CLICK HERE.
  • Cedar Lake Cellars, 11008 Schreckengast Road, in Wright City will be having a Derby Day Party. For info: 636-745-9500. Their website says: “Bring your friends and watch the Kentucky Derby while enjoying photo ops, a Clydesdale, and more! Wine, beer, and delicious food will be available for purchase.Dress to impress – there will be a derby hat contest!” Check out their website:
  • Westport Social- 910 Westport Plaza Louis, MO 63146 United We Brunch Their website says, “Join us to indulge in brunch favorites from favorite St. Louis restaurants, complemented by classic brunch cocktails from Woodford ReserveOld ForesterFinlandiaHerradura, and Korbel, all while taking in every moment of the big race.”

Traditions at the Kentucky Derby: Mint Juleps and Hot Browns

Mint Julep

There will be approximately 120K Mint Juleps made in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.

The Kentucky Derby serves its mint juleps in a variety of commemorative glasses, the classic mint julep is traditionally served in a silver cup. The design is based on a pattern created by a 19th century Shelbyville silversmith that featured beaded top and bottom borders. To view such a vintage julep cup take a tour of the Campbell House Museum, located in downtown St. Louis. On display, General U.S. Grant’s silver julep, engraved with the letters U.S.G. The silver cup was kept for the General’s use when visiting the Campbell’s at their St. Louis home.

Mint julep connoisseurs still prefer to drink their juleps from silver cups. They’ll also agree the best juleps are made with Kentucky’s famous bourbon. Churchill Down’s juleps are mixed with the Derby’s official bourbon, Woodford Reserve – one of many bourbon brands distilled the Bluegrass State. To discover the variety, I recommend hitting the Bourbon Trail when visiting Kentucky.

According to Mike Mangeot, Bardstown-Nelson County Tourism Commission’s executive director, The Kentucky Bourbon Trail currently has ten signature distilleries, and fourteen on the KBT Craft Distillers Trail. This count doesn’t include all of the county’s distillers, such as Bardstown’s historic bourbon distiller, Barton’s/1792.

To learn more about Kentucky’s bourbon, plan a visit to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in downtown Bardstown, just 45 minutes from Louisville.

The following recipes are Kentucky originals, courtesy of Churchill Downs and The Brown Hotel.

The Kentucky Derby Mint Julep

(Courtesy Churchill Downs)

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
16-ounces Kentucky Bourbon (Woodford Reserve)
crushed ice
Fresh mint sprigs
To make the simple syrup: In a 1 1/2-quart saucepan combine sugar and water bring to a boil for five minutes. Remove from heat and add a few mint  sprigs; cover and cool to room temperature. Keep mint syrup refrigerated until ready to use.

To make the julep fill glasses with crushed ice and top with a tablespoon of the mint flavored simple syrup and 2-ounces of bourbon. Stir and garnishn with a mint sprig. Recipe makes enough for 8 mint juleps

 The Legendary Hot Brown
(From The Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky, photo courtesy

1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for garnish
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
14 oz. sliced roasted turkey breast, slice thick
4 slices of Texas toast (crusts trimmed)
4 slices of bacon
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half

In a two-quart saucepan, melt butter and slowly whisk in flour  until combined to form a thick paste or roux. Continue to cook roux for 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Whisk heavy cream into the roux and cook over medium heat until the cream begins to simmer, about 2-3 minutes. Remove sauce from heat and slowly whisk in Pecorino-Romano cheese until the Mornay sauce is smooth. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.

For each Hot Brown, place one slice of toast in an oven safe dish and cover with 7 oz. turkey. Take the two halves of Roma tomato and two toast points and set them alongside the base of turkey and toast. Pour half of the sauce over the dish, completely covering it. Sprinkle with additional cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until cheese begins to brown and bubble. Remove and cross two pieces of crispy bacon on top. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley and serve immediately.

The website lists fun facts about the Kentucky Derby by the numbers:

2023 Kentucky Derby Facts & History:

  • 150K – Number of attendees expected for the 2023 Kentucky Derby (15 times more compared to the first race in 1875).
  • $78 Million – Net revenue increase due to the Kentucky Derby & Oaks in 2022.
  • $274 Million – Total amount wagered on the 2022 Kentucky Derby (9% more than the previous record in 2019).
  • $250 to $1,000 – Price of a high-end Kentucky Derby hat (90% of female spectators wear hats).
  • 120K – Number of Mint Juleps served over Kentucky Derby weekend, requiring 1K pounds of fresh mint and 60K pounds of ice.
  • 522,000– Number of cans of beer that will be consumed. 142,000 hot dogs will be eaten.
  • $1.28 Billion – Sales of thoroughbred horses in 2022 (up 11% from 2021).

Going to Louisville?

The Kentucky Derby, of course takes place in Louisville, Kentucky, and Derby Week starts Saturday April 29.  Each year, people travel from all over the country to Louisville for the festivities. Some people don’t even attend the race, they just want to be in the town during all the excitement.

And there is a lot to do besides the Derby. Louisville, the largest city in Kentucky is is home to attractions like the Louisville Mega Cavern, Kentucky Derby Museum, Churchill Downs, Conrad-Caldwell House, Muhammad Ali Center, bourbon distillery tours and Louisville Slugger Field. It boasts businesses like Brown-Forman, CafePress, Hillerich & Bradsby, Humana, Kindred Healthcare, Yum! Brands and more.

The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory is swinging for the fences with the recent completion of its renovated museum experience – the museum’s first museum gallery renovation in nearly 15 years.  For more about the museum CLICK HERE.

Two of the most famous annual Derby attendees are  Louisville native Larry Birkhead and his daughter, Dannielynne Birkhead, who is the daughter of the late Anna Nicole Smith. Anna Nicole Smith met Birkhead at the famous Barnstable-Brown Gala that happens the night before the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, Kentucky. Every year since Smith’s death, Birkhead has taken Dannielynne to the black-tie party.

Did you know you can actually attend that party? For about $2,000 per ticket you can get a general admission ticket to the VIP party. Food and drink is included in the price. Scroll down for Patricia Barnstable Brown’s personal email address.

For those looking to have fun but not spend quite that much, they should check out GoTo where they boast of 30 parties and how to attend. CLICK HERE

If you are looking for Louisville hotels check out the Drury Inn & Suites Louisville East and Drury Inn & Suites Louisville North.

Drury Inn & Suites Louisville North is located at I-265 and Brownsboro Road, and Drury Inn & Suites Louisville is located at I-64 and Hurstbourne Parkway.

Louisville Drury Hotels guests enjoy free extras included with their stay such as free Wi-Fi, free breakfast and free 5:30 Kickback®. Travel Happy® with Drury Hotels. As always, readers of get a discount at any Drury Hotel—just use the promocode SPORTS.

(Offer is valid at any Drury Hotels property and is subject to availability. Advance reservations are required and rates are net, non-commissionable. Discount applies to standard rates and discount is not valid for groups or with any other discount, special offer or package. Blackout dates may apply.)

  1. Drury Inn & Suites Louisville East
  2. Drury Inn & Suites Louisville North

Going to Louisville? Make the Kentucky Derby even more unforgettable by attending an Official Derby Event!

Taste of Derby | May 4

Mingle with horse racing celebrities as you savor an evening of exquisite cuisine and exceptional wines. Sample regional specialties with wine pairings, created by nationally renowned chefs along the Road to the Kentucky Derby, as you enjoy live music entertainment.

Taste of Derby Tickets:

Fillies & Lilies Party | May 5*

Head to the Kentucky Derby Museum to enjoy an unforgettable night with an array of live performances, bourbon tastings, premium food and beverage and interactive entertainment with Derby Experiences at the Fillies & Lilies Party. This Kentucky Derby kickoff party will dazzle your senses with all of the sights, sounds and flavors of Churchill Downs. Click HERE to buy tickets.

Fillies & Lilies Tickets:

Barn Stable Brown Gala | May 5*

For ticket information, please email Tricia Barnstable Brown at The suggested attire for this event is black tie.

Derby Rockin’ Eve | May 5*

Come as you are to enjoy a memorable performance by the singer and songwriter, Dustin Lynch! For more information regarding tickets, please visit

Unbridled Eve | May 5*

To purchase tickets or a table, please call visit The suggested attire for this event is black tie.

Winner’s Party | May 6

Time: Immediately following the Kentucky Derby until 9:00 pm

Location: Kentucky Derby Museum

Celebrate the conclusion of another thrilling “Run for the Roses” and witness the crowning of a new Derby champion at the exclusive Winner’s Party.

Mingle with the winning jockey, trainers, and owners while enjoying a lively evening featuring delicious hors d’oeuvres, premium drinks, music, dancing, and other entertainment. This is a fantastic way to conclude the 149th Kentucky Derby!

Winner’s Party Tickets:

*These parties are not hosted by Churchill Downs. Ticket availability and pricing are determined by event host.


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