Kentucky Derby Day @ High West Distillery

Kentucky Derby Day outfits
Derby Day attire.

Oh the Kentucky Derby, a day full outrageously large hats, seersucker suits, mint juleps and daytime drinking.  And I think there’s a horse race at some point, too.  Just like last year, my friends and I donned our decked-out hats and dresses and headed to Park City for High West Distillery‘s 4th Annual Kentucky Derby Day.

Derby Day attire.
Ladies in our Kentucky Derby Day attire.

High West’s Kentucky Derby Day consists of an entire day of celebration, including a hat contest for the ladies, a “Boulevardier-like” contest for the gents, a feast of Kentucky-inspired food and (my favorite) plenty of whiskey.  Oh yeah, and that horse race.  A friendly bet takes place to pick the winning horse and if your horse crosses the finish line first, your name goes into a raffle and if you turn out a winner, you get a bottle of whiskey.  Not too shabby!

The festivities from outside and betting on horses.
The festivities from outside and betting on horses.

This year a few more hors d’oeuvres were available for munching compared to last year, which was welcome.  Blue cheese potato chips were on every table while other goods were spread throughout the saloon like spiced marcona almonds, Western pretzels with whiskey caraway mustard and a charcuterie station serving Beehive Cheese, Creminelli salami and trout dip.  The main feast mimicked last year’s :: Derby Day Poached Salmon with asparagus, green salad with whiskey dijon vinaigrette, a medley of pineapple/cucumbers/red peppers, and Derby Day Burgoo.

The feast of food at High West's Derby Day Celebration.
The feast of food at High West’s Derby Day Celebration.

The Burgoo has just about everything you could imagine in it, but somehow manages to taste fantastic.  Made outside in a gigantic pot, it had pork shoulder, pork ribs, venison, chicken, roasted garlic, onions, corn, fava and red beans, yellow and green peppers, wild rice, red kale and “a bottle or two of High West Whiskey.”  The feast is followed by awesome desserts :: Double Rye Pecan Pie, Silver Oat Whiskey-Laced Lemon Meringues, Bourbon-Laced Panna Cotta and house-made s’mores, all in bite-sized form so you can take one of each and not feel guilty.  (Or at least that was my theory!)  Don’t you love how all the food has whiskey in it?!

High West's newest bottle, Barreled Boulevardier.
High West’s new Barreled Boulevardier.

Last year High West debuted their newest whiskey, Campfire, a blend of scotch, bourbon and rye at their Derby Day event.  This year they followed similar suit by introducing their newest bottled cocktail, called The Barreled Boulevardier.  The cocktail itself is a Parisian creation consisting of bourbon, Vya sweet vermouth and Gran Classico bitters aged in a whiskey barrel for four months.  While it’s worth a try, I’m a traditional whiskey-on-the-rocks sort of girl and will stick to the plainer versions of High West.

Suits, hats and dresses :: playing dress up is half the fun!

High West pulled off another fun Derby Day full of delicious food, great costumes and plenty of whiskey.  Tickets to Derby Day were $35/person (not including cocktails) and sold out long before the event.  Sign up for their newsletter to keep up with upcoming events.

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