Take a trip down the Bourbon Trail with the Whiskey Professor.

Take a trip down the Bourbon Trail with the Whiskey Professor.


Do you want to have a Kentucky Derby party? Of course you do! Big hats and bourbon: a winning combination. It’s a great party theme, and you get to watch the event live on TV. Over the years I’ve noticed the best Derby parties I’ve thrown and attended include betting, cocktails and, of course, a little food. Here are 3 keys to hosting a Kentucky Derby party.


Betting makes everything more fun. Why do you think Jai Lai has lasted so long? Thanks to technology you can bet on the big race as well as all the other races at Churchill Downs all day long. Remember there’s a race following the Derby too. You can make live bets, get track odds and even see a program of all the races by setting up an account at www.twinspires.com.


What’s a party without cocktails? With the Derby it’s all about bourbon cocktails too. The Bourbon Sour Cocktail is great to batch up, and it’s simple. Of course the Mint Julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby and has been since Larwin won the race in 1938 with Eddie Arcaro up in the stirrups.


You might want to give the food you serve at your party a little Louisville as well. One of our local treats is a spread called Benedictine.

The Kentucky Derby is like the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras all rolled into one event at Churchill Downs. You and your guests will have a blast, and you all just might win some money along the way. Finally, when your guests sing “My Old Kentucky Home” along with the 160,000 attendees of the event, bourbon cocktails at the ready, don’t be surprised if you spot a tear or two in your guests’ eyes.

Bernie Lubbers is the author of Bourbon Whiskey: Our Native SpiritHe travels the U.S. and the world educating people on American Whiskey, and how it weaves through the fabric of Kentucky Bernie barnand America’s history. Bernie especially has a passion for Bottled-In-Bond whiskies and how The Bottled In Bond Act of 1897 and the Taft Decision of 1909 which changed the whiskey landscape here in the U.S.

With his friend and bluegrass musician Hickory Vaught, he wrote and co-performs a live music show/whiskey tasting called; “Bourbon Thru Bluegrass” where folks get to sample whiskies from the style of the 1700’s, through the 1800’s, & then the single barrel and small batch bourbons of today. All throughout the tasting folks simultaneously hear the history of bourbon, enjoy live bluegrass music from that time period, or about that time period, and taste whiskey in the styles of those time periods.

Bernie won Whisky Magazine’s Whiskey Ambassador Of The Year in 2009 for the U.S. and then went on to win Whiskey Ambassador Of The Year International. He was again presented the U.S. Whiskey Ambassador Of The Year in 2012 alongside the legendary Elmer T. Lee. He was also named the U.S. Whiskey Ambassador of the Year in 2016.