And They’re Off – Derby, Drink & Dress, An American Tradition
As you may (not) be aware, the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby is tomorrow at 3:24pm Pacific, (yes we are bucking the strange trend to list all times eastern). If you are not participating in the most exciting two minutes in sports, you are surely missing out. I will admit I am a late-comer to this party, but now I am a platinum member and eagerly pay my annual dues – tradition is good, remember ?!?
The Derby is more than just a horse race, it is an American cultural event unlike any other since the race first began in 1875 … 1875! You know who was president in 1875 ?!? Neither do we ! That’s how long ago it was ! (Ulysses S. Grant). The Stanley Cup is often regarded as the oldest competed for trophy, well sorry hockey fans, that came almost 20 years after The Derby.
The Kentucky Derby is like a holiday cross-section of Halloween, 4th of July and St. Patrick’s day. How can you not embrace it .. hell, you should be tackling it, before the snap – I’ll Have Another ! The best part about Derby Day is that you can customize it any way you want. Be one of the many that make the pilgrimage to Louisville to spectate in person, (bucket list for sure), go to a party, have some friends over or go to your local horse track. No matter how you slice it, there are only two requirements for Derby Day. You must don some tight Derby threads and you absolutely must drink Mint Juleps !
Lets start with the dress. It’s pretty wide open for men, think Mark Twain or Buggsy Malone. We recommend going traditional southern gentlemen. Keep it simple stupid. Here are some images from past Kentucky Derbies for inspiration.
Yup, this is a good opportunity for you to Be Like Mike. MJ doesn’t get enough credit for the amazing style he has. Always sharply dressed, like a gentleman.
OK, now for the booze! No Kentucky Derby celebration would be complete without the traditional Mint Julep on the first Saturday in May. The Mint Julep became Churchill Down’s signature drink in 1938 when they started to serve the drink in souvenir glasses for 75 cents. Today the Kentucky Derby serves more than 100,000 juleps over the two-day event. The key is to create your syrup the night before, letting the mint flavors emulsify into your simple syrup. Here is how we do it:
The Rugged Mint Julep
It is traditionally enjoyed when served in a silver julep cup, so the cup can be chilled preventing the drink from getting warm. Improvise here.
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 2 cups water, heated
- 2 cups sugar
- crushed ice – keeps colder longer
- Kentucky Bourbon – Rebel Yell (duh!)
Heat water. Whisk in sugar and heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add mint and let the mixture steep for as many hours and days as you can. For each Mint Julep, add crushed ice to the tumbler. Add 1.5 ounces of Rebel Yell. Add 2.5 teaspoons syrup. Stir lightly. Garnish with fresh mint leaf and serve with a straw.
Our pick for the 139th Kentucky Derby: Itsmyluckyday
(You didn’t think we were choosing Charming Kitten did you !?!?)
Thanks For Reading !