Like most events, its not always about the event itself, its about the food and the fashion. And nothing says Derby style like the classic Southern Mint Julep and those fantastic hats.

Food first.

Traditionally served at Churchill Downs in a pewter or metal tumbler and often engraved with your pedigreed monogram, the classic Mint Julep is sipped in an oh-so-civilized manner as wild beasts pound past the the be-hatted crowd in a rampant stampede. And that’s just the line for the bar (da-dum-dum).

Since I won’t be joining the elite this year at the Downs (not that I ever have) the following recipes will add a touch of grandeur to my weekend. So look for me with a refreshing minty julep in hand, as I cheer on Cindy Napravnik one of only five women jockeys to ever compete in the Kentucky Derby and who this year riding Pants on Fire (how great is that name!) has a real shot at the roses. My money’s on the ladies this weekend.

FoodieCrush magazine Brown Eyed Baker Kentucky Derby Piephoto > Brown Eyed Baker

Chocolate. Bourbon. Nuts. Pie. Is there really anything else to say? Only that I’d have to make one substitution to Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker‘s Chocolate Bourbon Walnut Kentucky Derby Pie recipe: switch out walnuts for pecans to keep the dreaded canker sores at bay.

photo > Jeffrey Morgenthaler

If you have any questions at all about this classic Mint Julep cocktail, this post by bartender, mixologist and Saveur magazine Best Cocktail Blog nominee Jeffrey Morgenthaler will provide the answers. With 3 great videos giving plenty of background and advice, all you’ll need is a jug of smooth brown water, fresh spearmint, a little sweetness and a mighty steed to get your Derby started.

FoodieCrush magazine Fake Food Free Mint Julep Sconephoto > Fake Food Free

Here’s a way to kill two weekend event birds with one stone scone: Get mom in the Derby spirit by baking up a batch of Lori’s Mint Julep Scones from Fake Food Free and add them to your mother’s day brunch. Can’t. Resist. Mint. Sugar sprinkles…

FoodieCrush magazine Bunky Cooks The Hot Brownphoto > Bunky Cooks

Although this recipe doesn’t follow the mint julep theme, I couldn’t pass up adding it to the mix because, really, who can say no to mornay sauce, bacon and tomatoes all baked into gooey, yummy breadiness? Bunky Cook’s Hot Brown post also gives a true insider’s look at the historic Brown Hotel, it’s kitchen and a how-to cooking video from the Brown’s Chef Géroli. Regardless of whether you use the Hot Brown baking dish or instead opt for the au gratin dish like she does, Bunky Cooks delivers a hearty addition to the Derby menu. And for lighter (?) alternative, check out her panini version.

And now, onto the fashion and more amazing hats.

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