In honor of the upcoming Kentucky Derby festivities, we’re celebrating everything Kentucky proud on the blog today. We are so luck to live in a state with great people and rich traditions. I believe every event, year-round, should have a healthy dose of Kentucky culture.
When you think of Kentucky cuisine think southern soul recipes meets farm fresh
ingredients. A stereotypical event in the Bluegrass state should start with beer cheese, pimento cheese and/or benedictine spread. Other signature menu items include the Kentucky hot brown, fried chicken, country ham & biscuit, green beans and cheesy grits.
To do these menu items justice, you will want locally produced ingredients. Use the Kentucky Proud Producer website to find all the produce and products you need. Many Kentucky caterers are willing to find local providers if you’re going with a caterer for your event.
Don’t forget the sweet treats. You can never go wrong by serving Derby Pie, but Kentucky has so many tasty options when it comes to locally produced candies and chocolates too. Some of my favorites are Ruth Hunt Candies, Old Kentucky Chocolates, Mom Blakeman’s Candy and Sharp’s Candies of Kentucky. For your event, you could give a combination of your favorites as a party favor or do a candy bar where guests can try what all sorts of yummies.
Kentucky is blessed to be home to the rich tradition and thriving market of bourbon distilling. As a result there are countless distilleries in Kentucky that
make the best bourbon money can buy. Therefore, a Kentucky proud event would be incomplete without a bar stock with the likes of Maker’s Mark, Four Roses Bourbon, Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Woodford Reserve Distillery, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Bulleit, Michter’s, Booker’s, Knob Creek, and Blanton’s.
If you are more of a beer connoisseur, Kentucky has a budding craft beer industry lead by West Sixth Brewing, Country Boy Brewing, Against the Grain Brewery, Alltech Lexington Brewing & Distilling Co. and Falls City Beer. To figure out what beers you want to have at your event head over to The Casual Pint in downtown Lexington to taste all the best Kentucky options.
Bourbon isn’t just for the bar. You can use bourbon barrels in place of cocktail tables or for your cake table. You could even collect bourbon bottles to use as centerpieces. There are also a million (that is only a slight exaggeration) other re-purposed barrel products that can be purchased or made for your event.
Buy local blooms. Three Toads Farm, Black Rooster Farm, Meadowview Flowers, Bellaire Blooms, and Falling Springs Flower Farm grow high quality flowers here in the Bluegrass. Take the Kentucky vibes up one more notch by arranging your local blooms in a vintage trophy cup, stoneware crock, mason jar or mint julep cup.
Include equestrian inspired details. Think stirrups, bits, horseshoes, vintage competition ribbons and leather accents. Use these items to create character, not clutter. You don’t want to over do it so be creative in how you use these accents to make a statement.
Embrace all things vintage. Find and use old books, vases, platters, china and anything else tastefully vintage you can find. These items add interest, character and charm to the look of your Kentucky proud event. With such a rich and diverse history, there are so many
Keep it natural. Kentucky is naturally beautiful, so let it speak for itself at your event. Choose a natural color palette, embrace elements from your surroundings and host your event outside if the weather permits.
A Kentucky event would be incomplete without the sound of a banjo, fiddle, washboard and the like playing some traditional bluegrass songs. Get back to the roots of what makes Kentucky, Kentucky with a live Bluegrass band or a DJ who knows their way around the classics. Your playlist should include musical legends like John Prine, Bill Monroe and Loretta Lynn as well as current Kentucky artists such as Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton. You could also add these 13 songs about Kentucky to your playlist.