Cinco de Derby! Parties blend Mexican holiday with Kentucky tradition - Brooklyn Paper

Cinco de Derby! Parties blend Mexican holiday with Kentucky tradition

Colonel of truth: Derby Day enthusiast Parrish Hurley, right, who will host the “Kentucky Derby de Mayo Party” at the Douglass on May 5, says that dressing up for the event will make you feel “more genteel, more civilized.”
Steve Raia

It’s the most exciting dos minutes in sports!

This year’s Kentucky Derby — the famed annual horse race in Louisville — happens on Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican celebration of a long-ago victory over the French. Derby Day parties are typically day-long affairs, featuring mint juleps, seersucker suits, and women competing to wear the most elaborate hat, while Cinco de Mayo parties often have free-flowing margaritas, Mexican food, and mariachi bands.

But we have found three spots in Brooklyn that combined the parties into a single event: Derby de Mayo!

Tres for Cinco

Threes Brewing has thrown parties for both the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo in the past, and declined to choose a favorite when they fell on the same day, said one of its three founders.

“We can think about a way that we can pay homage to a food culture we love, and have Derby Day too,” said Josh Stylman.

On Saturday the brewery will screen the horse race starting at 6 pm, but the afternoon will have a dee-jay spinning Latin music and taco specials from the Meat Hook kitchen. The bartenders will whip up “The Victor Espenoza” — a mint julep made with mezcal instead of bourbon, and named after the Mexican jockey who has won the Kentucky Derby three times.

“It’s really delicious — it’s flavors that I wouldn’t necessarily associate, but it’s really tasty,” said Stylman. The bar will also serve mint margaritas, and traditional versions of both drinks, all for $13.

Threes Brewing [333 Douglass St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (718) 522–2110, www.threesbrewing.com]. Noon–8 pm. Free.

My old Kentucky hacienda

At the Douglass bar, just down the street from Threes Brewing, a Brooklyn native known as “The Colonel” will welcome visitors to the free, all-day “Kentucky Derby de Mayo Party!”

“I anticipate the coming of Derby Day the way a child does Christmas,” said Parrish Hurley, the Colonel’s alter-ego. “When you put on your seersucker, your linen, you become more genteel, more civilized, and everyone kicks it up a notch. There are no wallflowers on Derby Day.”

The pub will screen the race on its televisions and on the giant projection screen in the back room. For the Mexican holiday, it will serve margaritas as well as mint juleps, with a $1 discount for anyone who dresses up.

The addition of Cinco de Mayo will only slightly affect the host’s duties, he said.

“I’m sure the Colonel will be wearing a sombrero at some point,” said Hurley. “But bourbon and tequila don’t mix, so you’ve got to be careful.”

The Douglass [149 Fourth Ave. at Douglass Street in Park Slope, (718) 857–4337 www.thedouglass.com]. 2–8 pm. Free.

Dino derby

Drop by Dinosaur BBQ on the afternoon of the Fifth for its “Cinco De Derby Extravaganza,” which benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The entrance ticket gets you plenty of barbecued food, including pulled pork, brisket, and chicken wings; a raffle ticket to win prizes from local businesses; a best bonnet contest, and happy hour prices at the bar, including a special “Kentucky Derby Margarita” for $10.

But the barbecue joint will not screen the race, which is scheduled to start at 6:34 pm. For that, the party will relocate to the sports bar 200 Fifth (Ave. between Union and Sackett streets in Park Slope), which will have more than 100 televisions tuned to the race.

Dinosaur BBQ Brooklyn [604 Union St. between Third and Fourth avenues in Gowanus, (347) 429–7030, www.dinosaurbarbque.com/bbq-brooklyn]. 12:30–4:30 pm. $35 ($10 kids).

Reach arts editor Bill Roundy at broundy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507.
Mint mash-up: Threes brewing will serve a mint margarita and a mezcal julep — as well as traditional versions of those drinks — at its Cinco de Derby party on Saturday.
Threes Brewing

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