The Ravens Club Guide to the Kentucky Derby - The Ravens Club
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The Ravens Club Guide to the Kentucky Derby

The race is only two minutes, but it’s a long day. Pace yourself, and remember your manners:

DO dress the part. This is one sporting event where you’d better look your best. For the gentleman, seersucker never hurts. For the ladies, try big, bold hats and gloves.

DON’T wear cowboy boots or cutoff jean shorts. Save those for the Daytona 500 party.

DO know your horse racing terminology:

Win: first place.

Place: second place.

Show: third place.

Mudder: horse that races well on muddy tracks.

Jockey: the short guy.

DO place a bet. Keep it simple—put $10 on your favorite horse to win and throw down a few bucks on an exacta, picking horses to finish first and second. If you win, buy a round of drinks. Kentucky custom.

If you don’t bet, do pick a favorite horse. We suggest Danza, Vicar’s in Trouble, Intense Holiday and Uncle Sigh. Cheer for your horse by calling out its number rather than its name. It’s cooler and less of a mouthful.

DO read The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved by Hunter S. Thompson.

DON’T affect a Southern drawl. You never who’s in town visiting from Louisville.

DO have a mint julep. Honor Kentucky by using only bourbon or rye, fresh mint, quality sugar and very finely crushed ice. Sip and enjoy. You can almost hear the bugle’s call now.

How to Make the Perfect Mint Julep

20 mint leaves

2oz Woodford Reserve

5oz Rich Demerara syrup or one cube raw sugar

1. Place mint in Julep cup (a small mixing tin works perfectly).

2. Gently press mint with spoon, trying not to muddle or crush the leaves—too much will make the mint very bitter.

3. Crush ice. The Lewis Bag method is preferred, but you’ll need a mallet.

4. Add sugar syrup or crushed cube to glass. If you’re using a sugar cube, you’ll need to muddle it with the mint.

5. Fill cup with ice.

6. Pour bourbon over ice, mint, and sugar. Mix with spoon.

7. Top with more ice to form a cone shape.

8. Finish with a fresh mint sprig (the tops are ideal).

9. Don an oversized hat and revel in your fanciness.