Passionate About Wine Country
and the Moms Who Live Here

Celebrate Your Friendships with a Kentucky Derby Party {DIY + Recipes}

Special Thanks to our Inspo Shoot partners: Spirit Works Distillery, Little Rental Co, Sonoma Flower Mart, and Lindsey Tatum Photography.

Mother’s Day is around the corner, and moms everywhere are gearing up for gold macaroni art, chaotic family brunches, and breakfast in bed. As much as I love family time, May always finds me longing for an opportunity not to celebrate my own motherhood journey, but to celebrate the village that supports me.

I don’t want any hurt feelings, but if I could have a cocktail and laugh with my best friends…that would be the Mother’s Day of my dreams. 

Unfortunately, we are all pulled in opposite directions on Mother’s Day weekend. We need to celebrate our own mothers or to wait patiently for the toddler-made breakfast. Sneaking away just isn’t doable.

But you know what’s right before Mother’s Day? The Kentucky Derby. It’s the perfect excuse to gather with your closest friends and host a low-key party without stepping on the toes of your Mother’s Day Plans. And because we are Californian’s we can add our own twist to the Kentucky Derby Party, embracing the warm, casual, nature of Wine Country.

A California Style Kentucky Derby Party

The Kentucky Derby is the first of three horse races that make up the “Triple Crown” a lauded American tradition. It’s held the first weekend of May in Kentucky. 

The Decor: Simple and Elegant

The Kentucky Derby is all about silver, roses, and tradition, so we included vintage Chinoiserie vases as well as silver platters for food and florals. You can pick up your own gorgeous mix of florals via Sonoma Flower Mart in the Barlow. 

They provided us with the insane display of Passionflower vines, white Roses, blue Irises, and Calla Lilies. Sonoma Flower Mart connects local growers to floral enthusiasts, and we love knowing that when we buy from them, we are supporting small local businesses.

Ali from Little Rental Co. brought in the vintage blue chair and gorgeous side table, as well as a lot of silver, and the copper urn and vines.

She’s a great contact for any mom looking to host a party this spring and summer because she has a ton of great products that offer a unique touch to any party. I loved working with her on blending the copper-silver of Spirit Works with the vintage-classic look of a Derby Party.

The Fashion

Kentucky Derby fashion is a big deal. Just scope out the #kentuckyderbyhats on Instagram to see what I mean. And we Californians love a good hat too, after-all we will be spending a hefty portion of our summer at festivals, parades, garden shows, wineries, and the beach. But California skews a little more relaxed than upper-crust.

Where fancy hat shops might line main street in some regions of our country, in NorCal we are all here for a good sun-hat. We found these lovelies at Target. They can be kept to their minimal pretty, or you can host a DIY hat decorating craft if your group of friends is crafty. Simply grab some florals at Michael’s or Joann’s, de-stem, and get the hot glue gun humming. Your friends can embellish at your house while enjoying each other’s company.

Floral is the #mood everywhere right now, and you’re sure to find some great dresses anywhere you prefer to shop. 

The Menu

Pass the cucumber and mint sandwiches please! Keep it simple with a great cheese board from Trader Joe’s, some fruit, and slices of delightful cucumber sandwiches. {Recipes follow photos}

Spirit Works (6 of 89)

The Signature Cocktail: Whiskey Mint Julep

No Kentucky Derby party would be complete without a Mint Julep. While Mint Juleps are made traditionally in a silver mug with bourbon, we took another California left turn for wheat whiskey a la Spirit Works Distillery. This adorably quirkly glassware gives a nod to the silver beaded cups for traditional mint juleps, and they come from our girl Joanna Gaineses Target line. 


Watch Our How-To with Ashby, Founder of Spirit Works.

The Games:

Get the party going with some fun games. These cute and affordable printables are available to scoop up at Etsy. Reward your winning guests with pretty glassware, a floral bouquet, or a bottle of whiskey from Spirit Works.


Spirit Works Distillery

About Us
Spirit Works Distillery produces Vodka, Gin, Sloe Gin, Barrel Gin, Straight Wheat Whiskey, and Straight Rye Whiskey in West Sonoma County, Sebastopol, California. Founded by Ashby and Timo Marshall who spent over a decade working with environmental non-profits, Spirit Works Distillery is committed to the “grain to glass” philosophy.

Grain to Glass
The process at Spirit Works Distillery is simple: whole grain is delivered to the Distillery where it is milled, mashed, fermented, distilled, and bottled (or barreled)— entirely on site. This hands-on approach allows for control of all aspects of the process, creating a final product whose quality has been strictly monitored every step of the way.

The Still
Our copper hybrid pot still was custom-built by Carl Distilleries, Germany’s oldest family of still makers. Its unique design allows for multiple distilling techniques, producing not only vodka and gin, but also whiskey. 

Visiting the Distillery
Tasting Room Hours: 11 a.m., Wednesday-Sunday. Tours begin at 5 p.m.Friday – Sunday (please reserve online in advance). For more information, visit our website.

The Spirit Works Distillery tour provides a unique opportunity to see firsthand what goes into making craft spirits. Learn the details of each step in the grain to glass process: milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling — and afterwards enjoy a guided tasting of our available products. Tours are availableFridaySaturday and Sunday starting promptly at 5pm and generally last around an hour. Tickets are $20 per person and may be booked online prior to your visit. All distillery guests must be 21 years of age or older.

Tasting Room
The Spirit Works Distillery tasting room is open to the public Wednesday-Sunday11 a.m.-5 p.m.. Visitors can sample through all of our available spirits for $18 while watching the spirits being made through a window looking onto the distillery production floor. The newly created Craft Distiller’s Permit now allows distilleries that hold this license the ability to sell to tasting room customers!! Up to (3) 750 ml bottles may be purchased per customer, per day. We’ll also be releasing tasting room exclusive products with some regularity as a result of this new legislation.

The Barlow

Spirit Works Distillery is located in within The Barlow artisan complex, right in the heart of downtown Sebastopol, in West Sonoma County. The focus of this small community is opening the manufacturing process to consumers, providing fun and informative education about what goes into making their favorite products. Spirit Works Distillery is in good company with other craft breweries, boutique wineries and coffee roasters, farm-to-table restaurants, and other local handmade goods. Visitors could easily spend a whole day! For more information on The Barlow, visit online.

Little Rental Co.

Photograph by: Molly Hansen Photography

Mother & Daughter team, Jayne Lord and Ali O’Halloran started dreaming of little rental co, a specialty rental and styling company, in February of 2015. Jayne has a background in interior design and an act for discovering unexpected uses for repurposed items while Ali has a passion for collaborating with others, aesthetics, and hunting down that perfect piece. 

Photo by Claire Dobson Photo

They blended their talents and styles to make their dream officially come to life in January of 2017. Little rental co has given them the opportunity to tap into all facets of creativity. One day they’re a seamstress and a painter, the next they can be a marketer or graphic designer. There is not a single component these ladies are afraid to tackle and learn about, particularly from the industry’s supportive community.  As a team, they don’t ever lose sight of the purpose of an event- It is important to take the job seriously, but never to a point where the fun is lost!

Lindsey Tatum Photography

Lindsey of Lindsey Tatum Photography is a Santa Rosa Newborn Photographer also specializing in maternity, family, and senior photography in Santa Rosa, California and Sonoma County. LTP is also Wine Country Moms Blog’s team photographer and style editor.

Sonoma Flower Mart

Sonoma Flower Mart offers high quality, locally grown, in-season, freshly cut bunches of flowers, greens and large branches.

SFM connects farmers and florists and flower lovers. SFM cares about keeping jobs in our community, supporting family farms, stimulating the domestic economy and supporting the biodiversity of our local ecology.

Open to the public for retail and wholesale with two badge styles: a tax-exempt badge for floral industry professionals who will be reselling SFM product and a taxable badge for business owners of all types who purchase product for display purposes.

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