Known as one of Washington’s most exclusive Derby-centric parties, Bonnets and Bow Ties brings a taste of Churchill Downs to Pennsylvania Avenue. The all-inclusive admission features an afternoon of complete derby coverage, mint juleps, unlimited beer and wine, Southern-style bites, casino-style gaming, live jazz, and prizes for “Best Derby Bonnet,” “Fanciest Bow Tie,” and “High Roller” casino winner.
A long-standing tradition at the hotel, Bonnets and Bow Ties celebrates “The Run for the Roses” in the legendary Willard Room. New to the event this year is the addition of The Paddock, a specialty area where Jim Hewes, a renowned bartender at The Willard for over 30 years, will be distilling the history of bourbon and the mint julep, a traditional beverage served at the Kentucky Derby and the hotel’s signature drink.
Guests to the event will also be able to enjoy a Southern-inspired menu curated by Executive Chef Peter Laufer and Pastry Chef Jason Jimenez. Dishes include a pimento cheese and benedict dip station, stone-ground grits with choice of bourbon cheddar cheese, sautéed shrimp, or bourbon-braised short ribs, a slider station, as well as a variety of appetizers such as hot brown turkey sandwiches, Louisville’s most famous dish. Desserts offered will include dark chocolate pecan derby tarts, mint julep anglaise shooters, whiskey vanilla bean crème brûlée and hummingbird cake bites.
Donning one’s derby best, attendees to Bonnets and Bow Ties have the chance to win dinner for four at Café du Parc for “Best Derby Bonnet” and “Fanciest Bow Tie.” Guests can also try their hand at the event’s various casino games such as Texas hold’em, roulette, blackjack and craps, and have the chance to win a $200 gift certificate to the Round Robin Bar.
Lastly, after Bonnets and Bow Ties, “The Race to the 200th Cup” begins. Upon selling 200 mint juleps in the Round Robin Bar, The Willard will release 100 limited edition commemorative Round Robin Bar Mint Julep cups. Handcrafted from the highest quality pewter by Woodbury Pewter, this cup pays tribute to the famous drink and its historical significance to The Willard as the mint julep was first introduced to Washington by Kentucky Statesman Henry Clay in the hotel’s bar in the 1840s. The lucky purchaser of the 200th mint julep will receive the first commemorative cup. Each cup will have its respective number engraved at the bottom. The Round Robin Bar’s Commemorative Mint Julep Cup will be available for purchase with The Bicentennial Mint Julep, a specialty julep made with Makers Mark 46, in the Round Robin Bar for $50.
All-inclusive tickets to The Willard’s Bonnets and Bow Ties Kentucky Derby Party are now available and can be purchased online at www.washington.intercontinental.com/special-offers for $89 through April 21 and $99 any day after. Tickets are nonrefundable.
For more information, visit http://washington.intercontinental.com.