9 Quirky Food Facts About the Kentucky Derby
When it comes to food and the Kentucky Derby, they're not horsing around. (Pun intended!)
The Spectators Like to Eat…
Every year, the concession stands at the Kentucky Derby sell over 5.5 tons of food. That breaks down to 142,000 hot dogs, 18,000 barbecue sandwiches, 32,400 jumbo shrimp, 13,800 pounds of beef and 300,000 strawberries for traditional strawberries and cream.
…and They Like to Drink Mint Juleps
The official beverage of the Kentucky Derby is a mint julep. The iconic drink is made over 120,000 times on Derby day! For that many drinks, you need 1,000 pounds of fresh mint, 60,000 pounds of ice and 10,000 bottles of bourbon whiskey.
You Can Buy a $1,000 Mint Julep
The Kentucky Derby sells a special mint julep—if you have $1,000 to spare. The ingredients are all sourced from Kentucky, including Kentucky sorghum simple syrup and Woodford Reserve bourbon. The drink is garnished with mint, three roses and a single petal from the Garland of Roses, and served in a beautiful sterling silver “Bluegrass Cup.”
For $2,500, you can purchase the “Commonwealth Cup,” plated in 18K gold. The proceeds go to a different charity each year.
There’s Competition Over the Name “Derby Pie”
The Kern family first created the Derby Pie in 1950, and trademarked the name in 1968. It’s usually referred to as a whole host of other names in cookbooks, including “Not Derby Pie” and Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie, but the true name and original recipe belong only to Kern’s Kitchen in Louisville.
The Kentucky Hot Brown Is Worth Knowing About
Chef Fred Schmidt at the historic Brown Hotel in Louisville was faced with a midnight crowd of over a thousand hungry party-goers. He served up an open-faced sandwich layered with turkey, bacon, pimento and cheesy Mornay sauce, and called it the Kentucky Hot Brown. The guests devoured it—creating an instant Louisville and Kentucky Derby classic.
Kentucky Burgoo Has Some Unusual Ingredients
Burgoo is a rich meat stew dating back to the Civil War. It’s the official dish of Kentucky, and a staple at Kentucky Derby parties. The stew has had many variations over the years, but the most unique is an iteration during the 1800s. It used “local” ingredients, including squirrel, possum and rabbit.
People in Kentucky Love Beer Cheese Dip
This dip, made with cheddar, Worcestershire, mustard, hot sauce and, of course, beer, is everywhere in Kentucky. That’s why Kentucky residents would be astounded to hear that not many people outside of the state know how popular it is! The dip originated in the 1930s, and is traditionally served with warm, fluffy pretzels.
This Dip Has Secret Ingredient Everyone Is Dyeing to Know
You can thank the Kentucky Derby for another famous dip, the Benedictine Spread. It’s made with cream cheese, cucumbers and onions, and served on sandwiches and crackers as a spread. The first version, created in the early 1900s by caterer Jennie Benedict, had a little extra help to achieve its verdant color—two drops of green food coloring.
Bourbon Balls Aren’t That Boozy
Surprising, right? This bite-sized treat of bourbon, chocolate and pecans will usually make an appearance during the Kentucky Derby. In most cases, a batch of four dozen bourbon balls doesn’t have more than 3/4 cup of bourbon.