This Saturday will mark the 139th anniversary of the Kentucky Derby. The race, run at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, is known as the “Run for the Roses,” because the winning horse is draped with a blanket made with of over 500 roses. The Kentucky Derby is also know as “The most exciting two minutes in sports”; the race is fast and the horses even faster.
If you’re a sports fanatic and you like horses, you’ll be in heaven come Saturday, but if you’re not, you may want to grab a cocktail and watch some of the festivities anyway. The Kentucky Derby is probably known far more for the wild and fabulous hats that the women wear, all with the hopes of standing out in the crowd.
When the race was first inaugurated in 1875, a woman without a proper hat wasn’t just committing a fashion faux pas–she was creating a scandal. Ladies were expected to dress for special events and a woman wasn’t considered finely dressed unless she was wearing a hat. Besides, a woman who would ‘appear’ bare-headed in mixed company had questionable morals; there was no telling what other parts she might put on public display! Interestingly enough though, excessively wide-brimmed hats didn’t gain popularity because they were fashionable, but because they provided adequate sun protection.
Eventually, as the race became more popular, women tried to outdo each other with more fantastic, creative and huge hats.
There’s one more thing that the Kentucky Derby has made famous—the Mint Julep—a mixture of bourbon, mint and simple syrup, traditionally served in a silver cup.
Why not have some fun this weekend and celebrate the Derby? Invite a few friends over and make your own hats (if you need inspiration, check out these great pictures) and instead of Mint Juleps, enjoy this recipe for
Bourbon Lemonade—Derby Style. It’s guaranteed to be a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Bourbon Lemonade—Derby Style
1 pint lemon sorbet
fresh mint leaves
splash of soda water
1. For each drink, scoop 2-3 scoops of lemon sorbet into a glass.
2. Tear a few mint leaves into small pieces and put on top of the lemon sorbet.
3. Top with 2 ounces of bourbon and a splash of club soda.
4. Garnish with mint leaves and lemon slices.
Melanie Bryant is a writer obsessed with food. When sheâ€™s not writing about her latest culinary adventures, she spends her time working in the garden, collecting cookbooks, and hanging out at the local farmerâ€™s market. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. "You Had Me at Butter" (www.buttermelup.blogspot.com) is her blog where she writes about all things food.