Get a Taste of the Kentucky Derby’s Star-Studded Gala

04/25/2014 at 01:58 PM ET

Kentucy Derby Recipes
Courtesy Barnstable Brown Derby

Hold on to your wide-brim hats: It’s time to start planning this year’s Kentucky Derby watch party.

The big question: What to serve? Southern fare goes hand-in-hand with Derby weekend  — and this year, we’re turning to one of Louisville’s ritziest events for dining inspiration.

The Barnstable Brown Kentucky Derby Eve Gala, which brings together superstars like Miranda Lambert, Tom Brady and the Kings of Leon for a night of music, fun, and food, is famous for serving up local favorites on the night before the big race. Some years, performers have even taken the stage with their dinner plates still in hand!

That fits with the relaxed vibe of the bash: Dishes like corn pudding and beef tenderloin with Henry Bain sauce — a spicy-sweet sauce that’s a Louisville tradition — are all served buffet-style.

And would it really be the Derby without cocktails? This year, surprise guests by offering something besides mint juleps. The gala’s Reserve Bourbon Old Fashioned, a drink invented in Louisville, is elegant and oh-so-easy to make.

Chris Barnstable-Brown, who grew up in house where the gala is held, shares the secret to creating a few Kentucky favorites in your home kitchen.

Reserve Bourbon Old Fashioned

2 oz. bourbon
1 crushed sugar cube
3 dashes bitters
1 maraschino cherry

Combine ingredients in a glass with ice, stir and serve.

Henry Bain Sauce 

1/3 cup mango or peach chutney, best available
4 tbsp. steak sauce
4 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp. chili sauce
2 tbsp. ketchup
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Sriracha sauce, to taste

In a pot over medium heat, stir in the ingredients. Heat until slightly thickened, then allow to cool. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

—Emma Tyler

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