Throwing a party doesn’t have to be a tone of work or super stressful. I think if you have a great drink, a sweet and a savory snack and a fun take-away – everyone is guaranteed to have have a good time. If you want to appear a little more on the fancy side, may a suggest throwing a little Kentucky Derby Viewing Party. Really I love any excuse to host a get-together, but one with a little Southern charm feels classy. This year, Ghirardelli is an official sponsor of the Kentucky Derby and they have just come out with the NEW Dark Chocolate Bourbon Caramel SQUARE. It is soooo good. Bitter sweet dark chocolate filled with creamy, rich bourbon flavored caramel – it’s a match made in heaven. Any good Southern-inspired party definitely needs these delicious chocolates served. Oh man you guys, I’ve had to limit myself to one a day, because they are the perfect little sweet treat.
For my little get-together, I’m serving Ghirardelli‘s NEW Dark Chocolate Bourbon Caramel SQUARES, Chipotle Lime Pecans, and Virgin Mint Juleps. As a little party favor, all the guests are going home with a mini trophy filled with a tine mint plant, so they can go home and make more mint juleps. To bring a little winning good luck, I used pretty ceramic trophies to hold flowers and treats. Party decor doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming. Some fresh flowers can really make a party festive in no time at all.When I think Southern treats, pecans always come to mind. These sweet, salty and a little spicy Chipotle Lime Pecans and the perfect pairing for Ghirardelli’s NEW Dark Chocolate Bourbon Caramel SQUARES.
Chipotle Lime Pecans
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- zest and juice of one lime
- 1 tsp. chipotle
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 cups whole pecans
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
Toss all the ingredients in a bowl together to coat all the pecans evenly. Spread out on a parchment lined baking tray. Place in a 350F over for about 20 mins. Toss half way through the baking time. If the nuts are starting to get dark brown, remove from the oven. Allow to cool completely and then break apart any nuts that a stuck together. Store in an airtight container.
When I think about a warm Southern day, a refreshing Mint Julep comes to mind of course. And since I’m a fan of the mocktail, I’v come up with a fun virgin version of this Southern classic.
Virgin Mint Julep
- 1/2 cup fresh mint chopped
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- ginger ale
- lime juice
- crushed or small pebble ice
- powdered sugar, lime wedges and sprigs of mint for garnish
Start by making the mint simple syrup. In a small pot, place the water, sugar and mint. Bring to a boil and boil for one minute. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely. I like to leave the mint leaves in the syrup as long as possible. When you are ready to serve the drinks, stain off the mint leaves with a fine metal sieve. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Fill a glass with crushed ice. Add two 2 oz. mint syrup, the juice of half a lime and ginger ale to fill the glass. Stir and top the glass with more ice. Sprinkle the top of the drink with powdered sugar and garnish with a wedge of lime and a sprig of fresh mint.
This drink can also be made in a pitcher if you are serving a large crowd and you don’t want to fuss with mixing individual drinks. 1 liter of ginger ale, mixed with the full batch of mint simple syrup and the juice of 3 limes make enough to serve 6-8 guests.
Here’s to getting lucky in Kentucky!
This post is sponsored by Ghirardelli Chocolate, thank you for supporting the awesome companies that help make this blog possible.