The Kentucky Derby is full of wild fun. It’s often referred to as “the most exciting two minutes in sports” (that’s roughly how long the race lasts), because the on-track action, though brief, is absolutely riveting. Horses! Jockeys! Announcers! People with large money bets! What’s not to love? In fact, it was the wild unhinged madness of the Kentucky Derby that inspired Hunter S. Thompson’s Gonzo Journalism style, a gift that eventually led to the amazing Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.
Aside from being Kentucky’s premier sporting event, the Kentucky Derby is also known for its colorful fashion scene — particularly wide-brimmed “Southern Belle”-inspired women’s hats. Truly, the hats are so crucial to the whole event that they nearly overshadow the horses. They certainly spend more time in the spotlight on race day.
To get hyped for the Derby, we teamed up with Louisville-based milliner Jenny Pfanenstiel, the owner and master milliner of Formé Millinery. We asked Pfanenstiel to send us some of her newest hats, debuting at this year’s Derby, so that we could pair them with cocktails (the other other focus of race day). She was very kind to comply rather than simply stop returning our emails.
In the hat game, Jenny is queen — internationally recognized for her award-winning craft and always utilizing rare and high-quality materials from around the world. She’s made hats for Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Neil Diamond, and Nikki Sixx, among others. On the cocktail side of this challenge, we called on some of our favorite bartenders, as well as Uproxx’s own drinkmaster Zach Johnston.
Check out these awesome hats from this year’s Kentucky Derby and five cocktails to pair them with!
Red Stripe — Ramos Gin Fizz
Our first cocktails was crafted by Uproxx’s own Zach Johnston. If anyone on the Uproxx staff knows drinks, it Zach, so turning to him was a no brainer. Check out the Ramos Gin Fizz
Looking at the way this hat billows outward with rose hues, only one drink comes to mind, The Ramos Gin Fizz with a twist of pink from Grenadine. Look, these hats are complicated so it leads me straight to complicated drinks and the Ramos Gin Fizz is such a pain-the-ass, you may as well only order it when you’re out and about. But, if you must make one at home, we can help…
Here’s what you’ll need
- Two-ounces Gin
- 1/2-ounce Heavy Cream
- 1/2-ounce Lime Juice (fresh and strained)
- 1/2-ounce Lemon Juice (fresh and strained)
- 3/4-ounce Grenadine (usually this is Simple Syrup but we want pink here)
- 4 dashes Rose Water (usually this would be Orange Flower)
- 1 large Egg White
- Sparkling Mineral Water
So, this is a high-technique cocktail. Build your drink in a cocktail shaker in order. Do not add ice. Dry shake the cocktail for a solid minute. Add a handful of ice and shake again for another 30 seconds until the shaker is ice cold to touch.
Strain the contents into a Collins or Highball Glass. Splash some Mineral Water (a couple of spoons at most) into the shaker to draw out the rest of the egg white and gently add it to the top of the drink. Then let the drink rest. Soon, the egg white will start to grow out of the glass. This will take a minimum of two to three minutes. Once the egg white is a good inch above the rim, serve.