Kentucky Derby 2020: At Home Celebrations

August 28, 2020
Kentucky Derby Party 2020: Ale 8 One

Hey, y’all! The Kentucky Derby is my favorite holiday — and always will be. While this is a nontraditional racing year and fans are not allowed at the track, my shine won’t be dulled: I’m celebrating Kentucky Derby 2020 at home with Ale-8-One!

The Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs – and, really, the entire week of – is the finest showing of sweet, southern, Kentucky culture. While it won’t be the same, I do think that these tips and recipes will help make this year one to remember for you and your loved ones!

Party Preparation

There are many facets of a successful Kentucky Derby party. However, there are a few things that need to be considered: the outfit (hats!), the decor (all things equestrian! oh, and roses!), the menu, and the cocktails (Ale-8 is the perfect mixer!).

Kentucky Derby Themed Party

My favorite tip? Serve all drinks in vintage (and current year) Derby glasses. I pick mine up throughout the year at yard sales, Goodwills, and thrift stores. They certainly bring the southern charm factor!

Kentucky Derby Themed Wedding Shower by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

Tell me: do you prefer traditional hats or fascinators? I’m curious!

Kentucky Derby Party 2020: Ale 8 One

I purchase most all of my party needs each year at my local Kroger. They are a true one-stop shop for all things Derby. The best part? You can even pick up your Ale-8-One there. Be sure to look out for the limited-edition, commemorative Derby packaging on the shelves. I look forward to it each and every year!

Kentucky Derby Party 2020:

Kentucky Derby 2020: At Home Celebrations Guide

Kentucky Derby Party Menu: Food

The most important part of a successful Kentucky Derby party? The food.

Kick things off with my pimento cheese – which I appropriately call “Better Than MeeMaw’s Pimento Cheese”, as it’s lip-smackin’ good.

Kentucky Derby Party 2020: Pimento Cheese

RECIPE: “Better Than MeeMaw’s Pimento Cheese” (click here)

A Derby Party favorite each and every year = my Ale-8 biscuits, which are the perfect accompaniment to the pimento cheese. Want to get extra country? Serve some country ham on the side, as well. Sinfully good, y’all!

Kentucky Derby Party 2020: Ale 8 Biscuits

RECIPE: Homemade Ale-8-One Biscuits (click here)

Candied Bacon aka Pig Candy

The true star of the party? My candied bacon, or as some call it, “pig candy.” Pig candy is made by taking thick strips of smoked bacon and coating them in caramel or another type of sugar, notably brown sugar. To take mine to the next level, I add Kentucky Bourbon and Ale-8-One to the mixture.

Kentucky Derby Party 2020: Candied Bacon

Watch Me Make It Here:

Bourbon and Ale-8-One Pig Candy


Note: This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc.


2 lbs. Bacon

1 cup Brown Sugar

1/3 c. Ale-8-One

1/3 c. Kentucky Bourbon

2 tbsp. Black Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix brown sugar, Ale-8-One, Kentucky bourbon, and black pepper together.
  3. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil and place a wire rack on top.
  4. Dip strips of bacon, one by one, in the mixture. Coat it evenly, wiping off excess.
  5. Place strips of bacon individually on the wire rack.
  6. Cook for roughly 20-25 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon.
  7. Cool on the wire rack.

Kentucky Derby Party 2020: Candied Bacon

Bacon-Wrapped Dates

While we are talking about bacon, I want to share another new recipe with y’all: my Bacon-Wrapped Dates that have a Balsamic and Ale-8-One glaze.

Ale-8-One Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates

Watch Me Make Them Here:

Bacon-Wrapped Dates


1 lb. Medjool Dates, sliced down the middle and pitted

1.5-2 lbs. Thinly-Sliced Bacon

1 Container of Bleu Cheese Crumbles

1/2 Bottle of Ale-8-One

1/2 c. Balsamic Vinaigrette



  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
  2. Cut dates down the center and remove the pits. Cut bacon strips in half.
  3. Stuff with bleu cheese crumbles, wrap in bacon, and secure the bacon with a toothpick.
  4. Mix together Ale-8-One and the Balsamic Vinaigrette. Dunk each bacon-wrapped date into the mixture and place them on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for approx. 12 minutes. Remove from oven. Using the toothpick, rotate the dates on their sides. Cook for another 8-10 minutes.
  6. If desired (I prefer to do this), broil on high for 1.5-2 minutes for perfect browning and caramelization. Watch closely.
  7. Allow to cool; enjoy!


For dessert, try my Ale-8-One Lemon Kentucky Derby Cake!

Ale 8 One Kentucky Derby Lemon Cake

RECIPE: Lemon Kentucky Derby Cake (click here).

Another fun idea is to make cookies and cut them out in the shape of horses!

Kentucky Derby Party 2020: Thoroughbred Cookies

Kentucky Derby Party Menu: Cocktails

Can you have a Derby Party without a Mint Julep? I don’t think so!

How To Make a 2020 Kentucky Mint Julep Cocktail

RECIPE: Kentucky Mint Julep (click here).

Not a fan of the Mint Julep? Try the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks: the Lily®!

How To Make a 2020 Kentucky Oaks Lily Cocktail

Recipe: Oaks Lily® (click here).

Last, but not least, try my Kentucky Grandee Cocktail — which is the perfect bourbon drink which uses Ale-8-One as the mixer (it is Kentucky’s original mixer, after all!).

Kentucky Grandee Cocktail by JC Phelps, made with Kentucky Bourbon and Ale-8-One

Recipe: Kentucky Grandee Cocktail (click here).

Kentucky Derby 2020

While it’s a not the Derby that we all envisioned, I do hope that these tips and recipes will help make your day a little sweeter, much more delicious, all while invoking a true taste of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Happy Derby (from home)!

Kentucky Derby Themed Wedding Shower by JC Phelps of JCP Eats

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

My best,


A thank you to both Ale-8-One for sponsoring this post + y’all for supporting those that make JCP Eats possible. All opinions are my own.

Did you enjoy my guide to Kentucky Derby 2020: At Home Celebrations? If so, find more recipe inspiration here.

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