This week's Friday Five is devoted to my five favorite traditions in the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.
The Sun Shines Bright in the Old Kentucky Home - Performed by the University of
Louisville's marching band as the horses make their way from the paddock to the starting gate, everyone in attendance sings along. You know you sing along at home, too. If you don't, you're doing it wrong.
The Julep - A Derby experience is not complete without a mint julep. While you can make it with any brand you desire, Early Times has been the official julep of Churchill Downs for many, many years. And it's delightful. If you fancy making Juleps for your viewing party this year, here's the Churchill Downs recipe:
The Early Times Mint Julep Recipe
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- Sprigs of fresh mint
- Crushed ice
- Early Times Kentucky Whisky
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
- Silver Julep Cups
The Infield - Think Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras...or Talladega. Sure, you have Millionaire's Row with all of the stars, but The Infield is where the parties go down. It's pretty much divided into two areas - one on side you see families gathered, having cute little picnics; on the other side, there are things going on that would shame your entire family if they knew. This is where the majority (read: common folk) of Derby goers will be on Saturday. If you're in the Infield, don't get your hopes up about seeing any of the actual race. It just isn't going to happen.
The Twin Spires - Simply because they're gorgeous.
The Attire - A Kentucky Derby favorites list would not be complete without discussion of the dress. If men in seersucker make you swoon, brace yourself (but not in the infield...you'll do good to find guys actually wearing shirts down there). Sundresses and big, outrageous hats are the theme of the day. It's a Southern fashion show, and it's fabulous.
Have you been to the Derby? Do you have Derby parties? What are your favorite traditions?