Since it’s Kentucky Derby Week (a.k.a. The Cru Jones Society High Holiday) our aim is to prepare you for the most exciting two minutes in sports. And since we’ll be watching this weekend (although not live – fucking real jobs fucking shit up this year), we thought it only apropos that we prepare you to have your own kickass Kentucky Derby party at your own house/condo/apartment/refrigerator box. Although if you’re partying in a refrigerator box, you likely won’t need an excuse to drink bourbon. Perhaps that’s in bad taste.

Below you’ll find the essential elements to having a Derby Party your friends won’t soon forget. So let’s get to it. Invite all the pimps and ladybitches you know. It’s Derby time, baby!

1. Hats

The Kentucky Derby without hats is really nothing more than a naked-domed showcase of a bunch stupid, smelly equines running on some dirt. With righteous headgear, the Kentucky Derby is an excursion into high culture. You know why no one has ever commented on the dresses of any of the moneyed ladybitches in attendance, it’s because the entire focus is on their superlative domepieces.

There are so few occasions in society anymore where wearing a hat is not only acceptable, but required, that wearing anything short of a coffee table-sized cranial topper on Derby Day is not only rude, but downright offensive. Take advantage of this day and wear the biggest hat you can find. Ladies, make you’re boarding the Titanic and wear a hat that doesn’t fit through most standard-sized door frames. Fellas, make like Humphrey Bogart and wear that fedora with pride. Make like you sing in a barbershop quartet and wear a bitchin’ straw hat. Hell, fashion a number out of skinned baby seals and affix to that giant melon sitting on top of your neck. Nothing is out of line on Derby Day.

The only thing you can’t do is show up naked from the forehead up. That’s unacceptable. The more hats the better. You’ll get a real Churchill Downs vibe at your house with all the gigantic brims bumping into each other. And if you’re really popular, hopefully you have so many hats in your sunken living room that when someone comes in, they can’t see anyone’s face – it’s just a sea of hats. If that happens, you win Derby Day. Congratulations!

2. Bourbon

In our first year of Derby coverage,  Hart and I attempted to make mint juleps. We failed. Pouring hot as sugar water over bourbon renders what you’re drinking somewhere between dirty shower water and the 7th circle of hell. A mint julep made properly is probably quite tasty, and quite frankly, we can’t watch Thank You For Smoking without craving one after Robert Duvall’s description of the best way to enjoy one.

Regardless, you should certainly have the necessary components for a good julep at the ready. This is Derby Day, after all. But don’t limit yourself to solely drinking a drink with a high degree of difficulty. Find inventive ways to drink bourbon as we did in our second year. We perused Esquire’s drink database and unearthed the Ward 8 Cooler, which is one of the most confounding drinks you’ll ever have. Discover your own bourbon cocktail, and maybe you’ll enjoy the next gin rickey. On the other hand, you might end up drinking nouveau trash can punch, but either way you can feel good about your willingness to experiment. We are celebrating an event that takes place in Kentucky, so as long as you’re not fucking your cousin, you’re on the right side of the law!

3.  Food

To keep your guests happy, you should prepare a fine selection of consumables so everyone’s raging bourbon drunkenness doesn’t devolve into some horrific “my hat is bigger than yours” imbroglio. We recommend preparing Kentucky Hot Brown for everyone to enjoy and give everyone that real Deep South, Kentucky, obese flavor. Lots of cream, plenty of bacon, and cheese! That grease’ll soak up the alcohol real nice.

The keen viewers of this article might notice that the link above is to Bobby Flay’s recipe, and those same viewers might also remember that we busted Bobby Flay’s ass in our first year of Derby coverage. Well, in this game you can have it both ways because why not also make delicious omelets the way Pam Pryor did in her beatdown of Bobby Flay two years ago?

And while we realize this is a lot of eggs to foist upon your guests, just supplement it Kentucky style by throwing a bunch of random animal parts into the deep fryer and serving it up with barbecue sauce. You’ve already pumped everyone full of bourbon, shovel some fried paraphernalia into their mouths too. Everyone will love it!

4. Funny Friends

With all due respect to adorning obnoxious hats to your head and drinking a shitload of bourbon in the afternoon, the best part of the Derby is poking fun at helpless celebrities who can’t cut a decent interview on the red carpet. The Derby brings together an odd assortment of celebrities to be sure, and our favorite interaction ever happened two years ago on the red carpet. Churchill Downs is the only place on earth where former heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis will ever interact with noted cultural black hole Heidi Montag, so savor the moments when random celebrities who have nothing to say to each other cross paths.

True, it says “funny” friends above, but really, you just need friends that will appreciate watching awkward interactions between people who have no business together. The comedy basically writes itself, so as long as everyone has the right sensibility, you’ll be fine.

5. Gambling

Horse racing is retarded without stakes. Why watch animals with brains the size of grapes run in a circle without at least betting on it? I’ve never understood why everyone bets on the Super Bowl. That’s a game played entirely by humans with a convoluted set of rules in an unnatural environment that’s akin to betting on some aspect of a Celine Dion show. Horse racing (actually, dog racing) is the purest sport because you’ve got a group of animals that don’t really know any better competing just to see who can run the fastest.

You’re probably arguing silently with me about the impact of a jockey, but I don’t buy it. The fastest horse will win. Last year Mine That Bird kicked everyone’s ass despite having horrendous odds against it. With the exception of dumbass roulette, horse racing is the craziest and most exciting event you could ever possibly wager on.

So, since you’re host, play the bookie. You’ve hosted this sumbitch, provided the drinks, made piles and piles of Kentucky Hot Brown, got on your best seersucker suit, you should at least make some money today. Let everyone bet the odds that Churchill Downs sets. In fact, require everyone that attends your party to at least make one bet. That’s your rule for entry. Minimum one bet per person.

Then watch the most exciting two minutes in sports turn into the most exciting fucking two minutes in sports! Everyone will be yelling. Bourbon flowing. Kentucky Hot Brown innuendos flying. And you’re pimp ass collecting the shekels.

Follow these rules, and you’ll love the Kentucky Derby as much as CJS. Or at least… almost as much.

edagger@crujonessociety.com