May 2014 archive

Hats, Horses, and Mint Juleps

Tomorrow marks the 140th renewal of The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports:  the Kentucky Derby held at Churchill Downs.  Even though the races are what it’s all about, the mint juleps and hat fashions are usually what get the most attention.

Part Southern tradition, part spectacle, the Kentucky Derby hat parade makes for a much anticipated fashion show.  Like celebrities during awards season, viewers anxiously await to see attendees’ hat fashions at the derby.

We had the pleasure of working with Marie Michael (Paul’s aunt) and her friend, Liz Rice, at our Lafayette Creation Station to spice up their derby hats and have a wreath made.


I will be attending my first derby party Saturday so of course I wanted the most outlandish, bizarre hat I could think up!  Luckily, I have talented friends at our Lake Village Creation Station that helped me turn my vision into this bad boy:

derby_hat2 derby_hat

The flower necklace represents the garland of roses the winning horse receives.

Photo cred: Dan Dry via

Photo cred: Dan Dry via


Now for the cocktails!  The mint julep has been the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century.  So it’s only appropriate to drink these classy beverages at your own Derby Day party.

You’ll need:

  • 5 fresh mint leaves, plus a few mint sprigs for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Shaved ice
  • 2 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey

Here’s how:

Place mint leaves, sugar and a splash of water into a silver julep cup or a 12-ounce glass. Muddle the mint, sugar, and water together with the tip of the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill the glass with shaved ice, add the bourbon, and stir until combined. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh mint and enjoy!

Even if you’re not a derby fan, joining in on the occasion is sure to be a good time.  What’s not to enjoy when there’s silly hats and delicious beverages involved?

-Ainslea Hooton