Kentucky Derby: The Traditions

Those Crazy Hats

The Kentucky Derby party at Northfield Park

Our favorite Kentucky Derby tradition – second only to the Mint Juleps – are the fabulous hats women wear to the race. With the help of Studio St. Marie in Rocky River, we’ve selected an array of hats from fascinators to large brim. Whether you’re throwing a Derby party or actually attending the race, throw on a fun hat to celebrate!

The Classic Mint Julep

No Derby party is complete without the “Early Times Mint Julep,” the official and traditional drink of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century. Every year, almost 120,000 are served during the two-day period of the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby.

• 6–7 fresh mint leaves
• 1 Tbsp. simple syrup
• 2 oz. bourbon
• Crushed ice
• Tools: barspoon
• Glass: silver julep cup (or highball)
• Garnish: mint sprig

Combine mint leaves, syrup and bourbon in a glass. Using a bar spoon, crush the mint to release its essence into the liquid. Fill the glass with ice. Gently press the spoon into the ice, shaking it to incorporate the bourbon-syrup mixture. Garnish with mint sprig.