There’s nothing like the smell of Southern vegetation, the feel of dewy humidity on the skin, and a slower pace of life. If you can’t tell, I have a crush on the South. I may actually be a wannabe southerner.
One of the cities below the Mason-Dixon Line that makes me swoon is Louisville, Kentucky, and thanks to an infamous horse race, Louisville isn’t the sleepy city it once was. But if you can’t make it to Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May, it is still possible to enjoy the Kentucky Derby.
I could’ve been a contender: Who to bet on this year
Courtesy of Horse Racing Nation
Southern style can’t help but rub itself off on you. After some time in the warmer states, labels like Lily Pulitzer and Jack Rogers will creep into your wardrobe. Kick the drab out of early Northern spring (or whenever you may be) with colorful pieces, lots of pastel and preppy, scalloped clothes; and for the derby, don’t forget the hat.
History of the Hats
The tradition of the Kentucky Derby hat began at the inception of the race; the founder Col. Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. wanted to ensure a good crowd at his event, according to the J.McLaughlin blog (at the time the race track had a reputation as immoral and dangerous). Looking to other successful races for inspiration, he looked to the glamorous Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Dolittle and her moment of tw0 worlds colliding at the Ascot races in England. According to the Kentucky Derby Museum, “He loaded up a wagon full of high society women and they were going door-to-door telling their friends, ‘We’re going to have a picnic at the racetrack,’” And it worked. The upper class poured into the stadium in their finest, as a place to see and be seen.
The tradition of the hat lives on as a fun element to the races (and more practically to keep the sun out of spectator’s eyes).
If you happen to be in Buffalo, New York and still need a hat, check out Pamela Inc. Women’s Clothing and Accessories (3142 Main St., http://uhartsgroup.com/pamela).
Page to Pantry
The Mint Julep Mocktail
6 mint leaves, rinsed
1 ½ cup sugar
2 cups cold water
¾ cups lemon juice
2-4 cups lemon-lime soda (Fresca or Ginger Ale work well)
Mix sugar in an equal amount of warm water and refrigerate for 30 to 40 min.
Squeeze the lemons in sugar syrup and mix well.
Add soda and mix well.
Layer the serving glass with crushed ice and pour the syrup over the ice.
Garnish with mint leaves.