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Best Kentucky Bourbon Recipes

Best Kentucky Bourbon Recipes

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Kentucky Bourbon Shopping Tips

Buy your booze in bulk – transfer what you need into smaller bottles to stock your bar – you’ll save money and have enough leftover for your next party.

Kentucky Bourbon Cooking Tips

Add another layer of flavor to your cocktails by making your own simple syrup – combine equal parts sugar and water with whatever aromatics you like – fresh herbs, whole spices, citrus, or chile peppers – heat to dissolve sugar and strain before using.

Kentucky Derby Cocktails

Here in California, most of us won’t have the pleasure of attending the Kentucky Derby in person, which is why it’s so much fun to celebrate this historic sporting event at home! Today, I’m sharing three of the best Kentucky Derby Cocktails to bring the authentic taste and experience to your party, thanks to Brown-Forman and Woodford Reserve, the official sponsor of the Kentucky Derby.

Tomato & Watermelon Salad

Courtesy of Woodford Reserve / Kentucky Derby

If we really do eat with our eyes first, this might have you feeling ready to feast. This bright-tasting (and looking) salad is another dish that delivers so much nutritional value and is friendly to so many diets. Have at this Tomato & Watermelon Salad Recipe.


2-3 lb. chicken leg quarters

3-4 lb. chuck roast, cut into chunks

3-4 lb. pork shoulder, cut into chunks

1 cup dried Great Northern beans, soaked for at least 1 hour

2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 cup diced onion (about 1 onion)

1 cup diced carrot (about 3 carrots)

1/2 cup diced celery (about 3 stalks)

1 cup diced turnip (about 1 turnip)

1 cup cut green beans, fresh or canned

1 cup corn, fresh or frozen

1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes

1/4- 1/2 cup Frank’s RedHot, and more to taste

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

Bourbon Balls

Recipe adapted from Kat Kinsman, Editor in Chief

Yield: 30 balls

Prep Time: 25 minutes, plus chilling time

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes, plus chilling time


2 cups Nilla Wafers crumbs

½ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, divided

½ cup confectioners' sugar, divided


1. In a small bowl, combine the pecans and ¼ cup of the bourbon. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until the pecans have absorbed some of the bourbon, 2 to 3 hours. Drain and reserve the bourbon.

2. Heat the oven to 325°. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the nuts cool, then finely chop and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped pecans, remaining bourbon, Nilla Wafers crumbs, ¼ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup confectioners' sugar and the corn syrup. Stir until smooth.

4. Using a heaping tablespoon portion, roll dough into ¾-inch balls.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining cocoa powder and confectioners' sugar and coat each ball in the cocoa sugar. Transfer the bourbon balls to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours or until firm.

Bourbon Slush

Recipe adapted from Kat Kinsman, Editor in Chief

Yield: 18 to 20 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus chilling time

Cook Time: N/A

Total Time: 10 minutes, plus chilling time


12 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate

6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate

2 liters ginger ale, chilled, for serving


1. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of the water to a boil. Add the tea bags and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Discard the tea bags. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves.

2. In a large container, combine the brewed tea, lemonade and orange juice concentrates, remaining water and bourbon.

3. Place the container in the freezer for at least 4 to 6 hours or preferably overnight until the slush is firm all the way through.

4. Scoop the bourbon slush into a tumbler glass, top with ginger ale and serve.

Kentucky Bourbon Cake Recipe

I adapted this recipe slightly by adding a glaze (because I thought it would make the cake moister) and substituting an ingredient, but otherwise, the recipe is the same as the original.

Cooking Tips:

  • This recipe originally called for mace. That’s a spice that’s rarely used so I don’t keep it on hand. It’s also pricey to buy, especially if you’re only using one teaspoon in one recipe. If you have it, use it, but nutmeg can be substituted for the mace.
  • The cake also called for “bonded bourbon.” I had no clue what that was so I looked it up. It means bourbon that is “made at a single distillery, by one distiller in one distillation season, aged for at least four years in a federally bonded and supervised warehouse, and bottled at 100 proof. ” I used the variety I had on hand, William Wolf Pecan Bourbon. I assume this would change the taste a little. I think you can use whatever type of bourbon you have available.
  • Don’t substitute margarine for the butter. This recipe needs real butter to work correctly.

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • For the cake (don’t worry that it is a long list of ingredients and sounds complicated. The cake will come together quickly.)
  • butter
  • brown sugar
  • granulated (just plain old regular) sugar
  • eggs
  • flour
  • nutmeg
  • pecans
  • bourbon
  • For the glaze:
  • bourbon
  • sugar
  • butter

How to Tell if A Cake is Done:

One of the easiest ways to tell if a cake is done is to insert a knife into the center of the cake. If the knife comes out “clean”–nothing on the knife but a few crumbs– then the cake is done.

All the Recipes You Need for a Kentucky Derby Party

Win or lose, a day at the races is sure to work up an appetite. Serve a showstopping spread of Derby-inspired classics, from hot browns to mint juleps and everything in between.

Related To:

Photo By: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Chantell Quernemoen

Photo By: Martin Klimek ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Kentucky Hot Browns

When talking about Kentucky recipes, nothing is more iconic than hot browns. Damaris Phillips puts a fun spin on the classic sandwich by deconstructing the components (bread, cheese, turkey and more) and baking them in individual servings.

Pimento Cheese

Ree adds a little heat to her classic pimento cheese by incorporating fiery adobo sauce.

Mint Julep

It&rsquos not a true Derby without mint juleps. This classic recipe requires just three ingredients &mdash mint, sugar and plenty of Kentucky bourbon.

Dill Benedictine Dip

Classic Kentucky Benedictine is the perfect partner to a mint julep. Serve the cucumber-cream cheese spread with fresh veggies or crackers for dipping.

Honey Ham Sandwich

Buttery homemade biscuits and an herby honey butter make Ree&rsquos ham sandwiches out-of-this-world delicious.

Pineapple Sweet Tea

Freeze pineapple chunks in an ice cube tray to make fun and fruity ice cubes that will wow your party guests! Trisha&rsquos secret? She uses canned pineapple, reserves the juice and stir it into classic sweet tea.

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Stuff pimento cheese into burger patties for a fun and filling twist on the traditional dip.

Bourbon Chocolate-Walnut Pie

You can&rsquot celebrate the Kentucky Derby without bourbon. Use it as a filling in this chocolatey walnut pie for a dessert that&rsquos fit for a day at the races.

Rosetta's Green Bean and Potato Salad

Looking for a simple side dish? Boil potatoes and green beans, then toss the veggies with a quick basil dressing.

Derby Tartlets

A candied walnut crust and boozy chocolate filling will make these treats the hit of any party.

Ginger-Sweet Tea Juleps

Sip the best of both worlds with this cross between sweet tea and mint juleps.

Pulled Pork

You can&rsquot go wrong with Ree&rsquos five-star pulled pork. She roasts the pork low and slow until it&rsquos tender, sweet and deliciously juicy.

Sunny's Deviled Eggs

Who doesn&rsquot love a deviled egg? Sunny includes pickled jalapenos in her filling for a mild heat that&rsquos wonderfully tangy.

Honey Fried Chicken Bites

The combo of honey and pickle brine (sweet, sour and salty) makes for the perfect sauce to toss with chunks of fried chicken. We use thigh meat because it stays juicer and add a little buttermilk to our dredging flour it helps make it shaggy, which makes the chicken crunchier.

Baked Cheese Grits

Get golden-brown grits with the addition of Pepper Jack and sharp Cheddar.

Chipotle Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Toss canned beans with olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard and hot sauce for a perfectly seasoned side dish.

Mint Julep Fruit Salsa

Juleps aren&rsquot just for drinking. Mint preserves and bourbon pack a flavorful punch when incorporated into a fruity salsa.

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Valerie&rsquos mini sandwiches are an easy way to add a touch of elegance to any event.

Strawberry and Hazelnut Salad with Orange Blossom Dressing

Introduce fresh flavors to your spread with Molly&rsquos fruity salad. She adds toasted hazelnuts for a delicious crunch that pairs perfectly with sweet strawberries.

Deviled Ham Tea Sandwiches

As Trisha says, &ldquoDeviled ham is a Southern classic!&rdquo She uses pickled okra in place of relish for a unique pop of acid.

Sea Island Bourbon Punch

Punch up your party with Kardea&rsquos boozy beverage. She sweetens bourbon with ginger ale, maraschino cherry juice and a pinch of cinnamon.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Celebrate the Derby with traditional Southern dishes like fried green tomatoes. You can serve them as a side dish or as an appetizer with ranch dressing for dipping.

Citrus Shrimp Salad

There&rsquos a lot to love about this seafood salad &mdash it&rsquos easy to prepare, tastes delicious and makes a showstopping dish on any table.

Bourbon Balls

The sweet kick of bourbon in these confections will transport you straight to Kentucky. We dipped the pieces in a bittersweet chocolate coating and topped them off with crunchy pecan. The result is a Derby-worthy treat you can make and enjoy all year round.

Corn Whiskey vs. Bourbon

Bourbon starts out as a corn-based whisky which can be consumed soon after the distillation process is complete. However, it must go through an important final step in order to become bourbon.

To be considered a true ‘bourbon’ the spirit must be matured for two years in an oak barrel. While this means delayed gratification good things truly come to those who wait.

While a good bourbon can set you back a pretty penny, many savvy people are taking up a new and creative hobby that yields fun results-making their own.

While moonshining is quickly growing in popularity, many are unaware that they can make other spirits-including bourbon.

Making bourbon only requires one extra step further than traditional corn whisky. In fact, all you really need to get started is a quality still kit .

We love this all-in-one kit. The Appalachian stove top still kit includes everything you need to make quality spirits at home. It has a built in thermometer, fermentor pot with an airtight lid, air lock and even a connected copper cooling pot! It has everything you need to get started making quality moonshine at home!

Easy Bourbon Balls That'll Make You Feel Like You're in Kentucky

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More than 150,000 people visit Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby every year — that is, except this year. The time-honored tradition will run in 2020 without fans. Just because you have to watch the 146th Kentucky Derby from home, though, doesn't mean you have to bridle all your excitement. Kick off your sparsely attended viewing party on September 5 with our delicious, easy-to-make bourbon balls. They're bound to make you feel like a winner!

Start the Bourbon Balls (pictured above) in your food processor, pulsing together vanilla wafer cookies and pecan halves. Then simply add in cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, bourbon, dark corn syrup, a little vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Roll the balls together, then chill them in the fridge until they firm up slightly.

You could easily enjoy the bourbon balls after they've been in the fridge for about 10 minutes. But our bittersweet chocolate coating, which is melty and ready for dipping faster than the most-exciting two minutes in sports, is what really makes them a champion dessert.

Use two forks to dip the balls in the smooth chocolate mixture, then top each one with a crunchy pecan half and return them to the refrigerator to set. You'll be ready to pop a bourbon ball into your mouth in just 45 minutes, from start to finish.

Ready to take the reins? Try Food Network Kitchen's recipe for bourbon balls today and transport yourself to Kentucky, without ever leaving the comfort of home.