Horses + Friends + Stella Artois Cidre + Grillin’ = A Damn Good Kentucky Derby Party
(This is a sponsored feature with Stella Artois Cidre. All thoughts & opinions are that of Men’s Style Pro)
The running of the 142nd Kentucky Derby was this Saturday with the unbeaten horse Nyquist and his jockey Mario Gutierrez taking the crown & the roses — Bravo! Outside of watching the race, most people are more excited for the Kentucky Derby parties. The Stella Artois Cidre team reached out and wanted to know what my derby party essentials were — so I said, let’s have a party and I’ll show you.
Plus, they offered up some Stella Artois Cidre and some stemware — the party was officially on! Essential #1 – keep the bar stocked (thanks Stella Artois Cidre). It’s crisp, clean and not too sweet — the perfect warm weather adult beverage. Also, get a bar cart. There’s nothing more official than a wicker & glass cart to set your outdoor patio derby party off.
Essential #2: Proper Charcuterie
Yes, my charcuterie game is on point and yours can be too (just follow these easy steps). I learned this from my wife, so I can’t take full credit, but, my selections were a crowd-pleaser. The key is finding the perfect combination of cheeses — one soft, one medium soft and slightly firm. After figuring out the consistency, you’ll need to factor in flavor. One cheese should have a spicy kick (see red pepper cheese), one should be savory like the black truffle one (upping your fancy cheese IQ) and lastly a cheese with a salt factor that spreads well — like a brie cheese.
Essential #3: Grilling Skills
Respect The Chef!
I spend most of the year grilling (even in winter), so I take great pride in my skills. My number one rule when grilling for a party is to always make more than you need and never let your guests leave hungry. The grill menu consisted of:
- Ribs (marinated for 24 hours in a brine of garlic, cilantro, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, olive oil & cognac)
- Mild Italian Sausages
- Mini burger sliders (packed with garlic & spinach)
- Whole ears of corn
Essential #4: A Serious Cooler & Not So Serious Blazer
A few months back, Marcus Troy hosted a dinner with the cooler brand, Sovaro. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky attendees that and was able to pick the brains of the Sovaro cooler creators. The takeaway from that dinner? A stylish and highly functional cooler will be a conversation piece during any party.
Another conversation piece? A fun blazer! But, be careful not to go overboard. There are too many times guys have fallen victim to the clownish buffoonery of the Go To Hell jacket because they think it’s the “cool” thing to do. Classic plaid & madras patterns with subdued pairings (denim shirt & white jeans) are easy and appropriately festive.
Essential #5: Good Friends & Yard Games
Fun + Games is what a good derby party is all about. Doing it with some of your best friends is even better. Also, ladies in big hats is a derby party requirement.