There are two things I know for certain: The Kentucky Derby is this weekend and I have a backyard overflowing with mint.

These two things alone don't mean much. I live in Alabama, so I'm not likely to make it to the race. And my backyard, while it struggles to show a true zest for zoysia, cultivates mint like it's a weed, which I'm starting to think it might be as it's literally overtaking a playscape I have back there. But those two things together mean that I'm destined to throw a Debry Party, right? It's only logical.

I did a happy dance when Southern Living's May issue arrived with a party-ready Derby menu tucked inside. The menu, Toast to the Derby, was a treat to look at (and drool over--Ginger Ale-Brown Sugar Smoked Ham! Fluffy Cream Cheese Biscuits! Derby Truffles!), but it was the Ultimate Julep Bar (page 122, if you're following along at home) that caught my eye.

The Derby is known for decadence and Southern grace. Silver trays, high heels, feminine hats, bow ties, and seersucker all collide at a glorified picnic, making this the most high-brow yet welcoming event of the season. If that doesn't scream "Southern", I don't know what does; we're dressed to the nine and more than willing to let the wind blow through our hair.

The Derby Julep is no different. It's a treat to look at and smell (that mint!), but it is as easy and low-maintenance as it gets.


Check out the Southern Living julep recipe. It calls for four ingredients, one of which comes from your backyard and another is made in, and by, your freezer. If you can muddle, you can drink with the best of them on Derby day.

Looking for other Debry party ideas? Find more mint julep recipes and great appetizer ideas in our party gallery, Talk Derby to Me. Then call your friends; you've got muddling to do!

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel