Happy Hour: Kentucky Derby Edition

Known as “the most exciting 3 minutes in sports”, the Kentucky Derby is the perfect excuse to throw a party!

Must Haves
A Big Hat!
Fun Fact: Wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby is believed to bear good luck!
Expert Tip: Consider having a Best Dressed hat contest. Celebrate your guests efforts with the following categories:
Biggest Hat
Best Derby Inspired
Best Men’s Hat
Mint Juleps
Expert Tip: Add fruit puree for a twist. We recommend strawberry or mango puree.

Speaking of Mint Juleps…
Classic Mint Julep
From Southern Living
3 fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon Mint Simple Syrup
Crushed ice
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) bourbon
1 (4-inch) cocktail straw or coffee stirrer
1 fresh mint sprig
Powdered sugar (optional)

Place mint leaves and Mint Simple Syrup in a chilled julep cup. Gently press leaves against cup with back of spoon to release flavors. Pack cup tightly with crushed ice; pour bourbon over ice. Insert straw, place mint sprig directly next to straw, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Woodford Reserve Distiller’s Select Bourbon.

Note: Leftover simple syrup keeps refrigerated about one week and perfectly sweetens iced tea.

Moonshine-Cherry Blush – Infield Punch
From Southern Living
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup Basil-Lemon Moonshine
1 cup grenadine
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
8 cups sparkling water
Garnishes: lemon slices, fresh basil leaves, maraschino cherries

Process first 3 ingredients in a blender about 20 seconds or until herbs are minced. Stir together moonshine, next 2 ingredients, and sugar mixture in a pitcher until sugar dissolves. Gently stir in sparkling water. Serve immediately over ice.


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No Reservations Needed

For about 7 years now, my husband and I have discovered that Valentine’s Day is so much better spent at home than out on the town. We can skip the pre-fixe menus, the packed restaurants, and the usual structure of a typical Valentines’ Day dinner date.

colorsJulie and I have collaborated on some of our favorite event designs and some simple tips to show your Valentine a special evening without any reservations.


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Red Velvet Valentine’s Day Brownies

Red Velvet Brownie Recipe:

Screen Shot 2013-02-08 at 9.11.51 AMYield: Makes 16 servings

Total: 3 hours, 10 minutes


  • 1 (4-oz) bittersweet chocolate baking bar, chopped
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (1-oz) bottle red liquid food coloring
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


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