Kentucky Derby 2012 Viewing Parties: Free Mint Juleps, Best Hat Contests + Cocktail Recipes

— by Caroline on Crack

Ferget Cinco, this Saturday, May 5 is Derby Day! And that means huuuge, fanciful hats, mint juleps and gambling on horses racing the 2012 Kentucky Derby! Gooo, I’ll Have Another! (I just like the name, heh.)

Always so much fun when you can find the right viewing party. Fortunately here are a few to choose from in L.A (including julep recipes) for the boozy gambler in you.

Bulleit Derby Party Benefiting Speedrack — 12 to 4pm
What better place to celebrate a mint julep-soaked afternoon than at a downtown whiskey bar? PLUS, this Bulleit event benefits Speedrack, a charity to help female bartenders affected by breast cancer. Show up in your best hat or best seersucker with bowtie to compete for prizes. Or take your chances with the ponies. You get a prize if your steed wins the derby! Admission is $20 (proceeds go to Speedrack) and you get drinks, bbq and swag! Plus the first 100 peeps through the door get a Bulleit branded glass. You must rsvp to attend: hollisbulleit [at]

Freddy Smalls Bar & Kitchen — 12 to 4pm
Snack on fried chicken sandwiches and housemade Old Bay potato chips ($15) while cheering on your fave pony. Don’t forget to don your biggest, baddest hat to enter the “Best Hat” contest. And for the thirsty, three types of mint juleps will be available for $8 each:

  • Classic Mint Julep – Makers Mark Bourbon, simple syrup and mint
  • Blackberry Mint Julep – Makers Mark Bourbon, wildflower honey, mint and fresh blackberries
  • Maple Mint Julep – Makers Mark Bourbon, maple syrup and mint

Blue Cow’s Big Cheese Patio Party — 12 to 3pm
OK, this isn’t technically a Derby Day party but they will be showing the Kentucky Derby on the outdoor televisions while you enjoy Blue Cow’s and the Grilled Cheese Truck’s cheesy creations paired with rare micro brews as well as cocktails created by mixologist Steve Livigni (Pour Vous, La Descarga). All profits raised from the event will benefit the Men’s Guild for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Spare Room Celebrates the Kentucky Derby — 12 to 5pm
Everyone’s favorite bowling alley/cocktail lounge, Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt, will be screening the derby, offering free snacks, serving up specialty Derby drinks (Basil Hayden’s Seelbach Cocktail, Courvoisier Prescription Julep, Booker’s Old Fashioned) and hosting a live performance from The In From Out of Towners. To keep things really interesting, participate in the “Pick a Horse” game where winners who place $5 bets get a free drink ($14 value), those who place $10 bets get a free punchbowl ($60 value) and those who bet $20 get the whole shebang of free punchbowl, hour of bowling and a Spare Room x Motley dopp kit ($295 value). Proceeds will benefit Canter, an organization that helps retired race horses.

Los Angeles Athletic Club’s “Hold Your Horses” Kentucky Derby Viewing Party – 1 to 4pm
This is THE party to hit up at the beautifully renovated 3rd floor of the historic Los Angeles Athletic Club. There will be live music by gypsy jazz quartet Bastards of Belleville; a real live milliner (Pooka Queen) so if you show up hatless, you can buy one on site; and Mr. L.A. Mixologist/Cocktail Historian Marcos Tello handling the Mint Julep menu. I mean, come on! What more do you want? Check out this menu (and his recipes).

Gin Julep: “Truly one of the first Julep variations on record this one comes to us by way of Harry Johnson’s 1882 bar manual – A lovely combination of ‘Hollands Gin,’ demerara sugar, mint, & pineapple.”

  • 2 oz. Barrel Aged Bols Genever
  • 0.5 oz. Demerara Syrup
  • 6-8 Mint Leaves

Muddle, build. Julep Cup – Mint Sprig & Pineapple Spear & Leaves

Georgia Julep: “As our nation grew with the industrial revolution so did our palates and ‘French Brandy’ was the choice of juleps for many years – Combining Cognac, Peach Liqueur, Mint, & Jamaican Rum.”

  • 2 oz. Remy Martin VSOP Cognac
  • 0.5 oz. Mathilde Peach Liqueur
  • 1 Brown Sugar Cube
  • 6-8 Mint Leaves

Muddle, build. Julep Cup – Mint Sprig doused with Jamaican Rum & Peach Slices

Kentucky Julep: “It was indeed the ‘whisky’ variation that defined The Kentucky Derby – Served lavishly with Bourbon, Sugar, Mint, & Berries.”

  • 2 oz. Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1 White Sugar Cube
  • 6-8 Mint Leaves

Muddle, build. Julep Cup – Mint Sprig, blackberries, & raspberries sprinkled with powdered sugar

Admission is $30 a person and that includes a complimentary Mint Julep, buffet and games. Afterward, you can use your event ticket to retrieve a free cocktail at Schmeven Schmand.