Create an inviting fiesta that’s fit for the winner’s circle.
Written and styled by Rhoda Brimberry and Anna Crelia, founders of Loot Vintage, Photos by Natalie Paramore
During the month of May, it sometimes feels like we are living life at racehorse speed. Between graduations, Memorial Day, Mother’s Day and the start of summer, it’s a lot to keep up with. But just because you’re short on time doesn’t mean you should miss a beat when it comes to gathering with friends and family. To make the most of this month, we decided to mash some events together. Enter our Derby de Mayo celebration. At first glance, Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby seem like an unlikely combo. One celebrates Mexico’s victory against French forces and the other is a day devoted to horse racing and tradition. What they have in common, though, is their synonymy for color, fun and celebration. For a Derby de Mayo party, simply combine color, fun drinks, great food and distinctive outfits. Off to the races we go!
Simplified: We recommend picking either derby attire or fiesta clothing. Or why not mix them together? Think smart straw hats and traditional outdoor cocktail wear or traditional Mexican dressed and guyabera shirts. We enjoyed picking colorful frocks for the party while the gentlemen went for a different direction, with their upscale buttoned-up outfits. It all paired nicely together.
Next level: Hatbox: A Modern Haberdashery in Austin specializes in beautiful head attire for the most distinguished tastes. What better occasion than derby day to purchase a stunning and unique hat from the No. 1 haberdashery in Austin? The bigger and more colorful, the better! We enjoyed trying on the many options the store has and deciding which ones worked best for each of us.
Simplified: If you’re looking for an affordable yet tasty appetizer, mini chicken and waffles can be accomplished by toasting frozen mini waffles and topping them with ready-to-eat nuggets and a drizzle of honey. Yum! For the main course, grilling is always an easy and fun option for a backyard get-together. Throwing some burgers, hot dogs or fajitas on the grill will get the job done and keep your guests happy.
Next level: Ordering catering for gatherings of this kind allows you to put more attention into hosting. Everyone loves the opportunity to mingle, and this gives you the freedom to move about more freely without being chained to the kitchen or grill. We always love a spread from Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon in Austin. We ordered the mouthwatering La Fresa Taco Bar package, which features anchiote chicken. The chicken is delicious and the bar touts more taco toppings than you’ll know what do to with. Pro tip: Make sure to order a side of Fresa’s savory Brussels sprouts.
Simplified: You always want to have cool drinks on hand for any summer party. The cooler should be stocked with some good Mexican beers if you want to stick with the Derby de Mayo theme. Always include some solid nonalcoholic drink selections too, like Topo Chico or San Pellegrino.
Next level: Take your theme to the next level by bringing the horse element into your backyard. The miniature horses from Takota’s Ponies, a stable based in Georgetown, Texas, joined us for our celebration. While these aren’t horses of the racing kind, they’re a fun addition, especially for the kids to hop on and walk around the yard. Takota’s also fashioned a lovely bar-cart display for us on a pony’s saddle, allowing us to serve beers in style! At the bar, we combined the two themes together to create a Derby de Mayo tequila julep.
Derby De Mayo Tequila Julep
6 fresh mint leaves
1/2 ounce agave syrup
1 cup ice, crushed
2 ounces tequila anejo
1 mint sprig, for garnish
- Muddle the mint leaves with the agave syrup in the bottom of a copper mule cup.
- Add crushed ice to cups.
- Pour the tequila anejo over the ice and stir lightly to mix.
- Garnish with a mint sprig, serve and enjoy.
Cinco de Mayo Party Checklist
o Fresa’s Chicken al Carbon for the taco-bar spread, fresaschicken.com
o Hatbox: A Modern Haberdashery for derby hats, hatbox.com
o Takota’s Ponies for ponies, takotasponies.com
o Loot Rentals for furniture and décor, lootrentals.com