Derby: Not too early to drink

The question, what events are a good excuse to drink before noon yields a one-word answer from a number of folks: Derby.

Jared Studley of Nashua, N.H., and Jeff Smith of New York enjoy Bloody Marys Saturday morning at Churchill Downs. Herald-Leader staff photo by Rich Copley.

Nursing Bloody Marys, a fairly traditional a.m. drink, Jared Studley (yes, that is his real name) of Nashua, N.H., and Jeff Smith of New York said getting a cocktail to start the day seemed to be the thing to do at their first Derby. Having been here for the Oaks on Friday, they even had the drink services at the Derby figured out.

Avoid the barkers carrying the juleps around, “because they’re kind of watered down after being in the sun a while,” Studley said.

They also aren’t fans of the general bars, and favor the tents set up by spirit makers such as Grey Goose vodka.

“Go with the professionals,” Smith said, adding, “it’s all the same price.”

Bonnie McCabe and Libby Spinella of Glastonbury, Conn., were splitting a Pink Lily, a vodka-based answer to the traditional julep, as they started their day.

“We didn’t want to get too out of hand this early,” Spinella joked. Later in the day, she said they would work up to Mint Juleps.

“Bourbon packs quite a punch,” Spinella said.

That said, it could wake you up before lunchtime.

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