Best Snacks for Derby Day Party Time

The day of the Kentucky Derby (aka Derby Day, aka May 4, 2024) is a day for everyone, regardless of their region of origin, to come together and indulge in Southern comfort and class. And you know that includes food and drinks—not just horses and hats. I’ll be honest. I have no idea what horses are in the race, but that’s not why you’re here. You’re here for Derby Day party foods, and that’s what I know. From a premixed bourbon cocktail you don’t have to fuss over to the best fixins for your Hot Browns, these are the best Derby Day foods for an authentic Southern feast. Please put on your most ostentatious hat and let’s raise a glass to Derby Day, y’all.

On the Rocks Old Fashioned Knob Creek

I’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news is we’ve yet to try a canned/bottled Mint Julep we love. But the good news is that this Old Fashioned, made with Kentucky’s own Knob Creek bourbon, is tasty and a great time-saver for a party. Justine Sterling, Sporked editor-in-chief, described this premade Old Fashioned as “very orangey.” It’s fruity and sweet and very drinkable. Just what you need for an afternoon drink as you watch horses go fast at your Derby Day party.

Read the full ranking of the best canned and bottled whiskey cocktails

Spindrift Nojito

If you’re dead set on a Mint Julep, we have a quick fix for you. Just add bourbon to Spindrift’s Nojito for a simple Mint Julep—or serve it as a mocktail to people who don’t imbibe. You could even pair it with the best NA whiskey! Nojito combines lime and mint to create a pleasant sip. In the opinion of Sporked’s Gwynedd Stuart, the mint takes a bit of the edge off the tartness of the real lime juice in this sparkling water. This is light, zesty, and tasty—perfect for a spring afternoon Kentucky Derby Day party.

Read the full ranking of the best Spindrift flavors

Cabot Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a Southern staple and the perfect centerpiece for a charcuterie board. This spread gets sweetness from the pimento peppers, saltiness from the cheese, and it has a nice bite on the end as well from the spices. It’s smooth, creamy, and spreadable, and even if granny would gasp if she heard me say this, it’s pretty much as good as homemade pimento cheese.

Read the full ranking of the best spreadable cheese

Dietz & Watson Sliced Black Forest Smoked Turkey Breast, Pederson’s Natural Farms No Sugar Added Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon, and Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar

Truthfully, I have no idea how long the Kentucky Derby lasts. I have to imagine it’ll be long enough for you to really get hungry, so put together another Southern classic: a Hot Brown sandwich. If we’re building this beauty, we might as well do it right. Toast your bread of choice, then pile on a mound of Dietz & Watson Sliced Black Forest smoked turkey breast. Then throw a few slices of Pederson’s Natural Farms hickory smoked bacon on top for a hit of salty, fatty goodness, and cover it all in a blanket of melted Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar. The “unexpected” aspect of this cheddar cheese is a nice dose of parmesan that will make your Derby Day party sandwich ten times better (results may vary, depending on taste).

Read our rankings of the best deli turkey, the best bacon, and the best cheddar cheese

Marie Callender’s Southern Pecan Pie

Pecan pie can typically only be found in bakery sections around the holidays. Don’t fret, though—this frozen take on the Southern staple should be available year round. And that’s perfect because we’re gonna need of a good ol’ Southern dessert for our Derby Day party. This pie is very, very carmelly with a buttery crust that’s savory but not salty. It’s topped with lots of crumbled pieces of pecans and a crackly, caramelized layer of sugar. There may be fancier options for dessert, but there certainly won’t be anything more indulgent than this, so I say on your marks, get set, go.

Read our ranking of the best pecan pie

About the Author

Vinz Karl

Vinz Karl is a freelance contributor to Sporked and self-proclaimed Guy Fieri superfan. He believes in breakfast supremacy and is on a never-ending mission to try every flavor of Oreo out there. Originally from the Midwest, Vinz now resides in Los Angeles, where you can find him going on hikes, checking out new restaurants, and preparing for his eventual casting on CBS's Survivor.

Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!

Your thoughts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *