Derby Day was a little colder than normal, but the cloudy skies were predicted to hold their rain throughout the day, making me and my friends smile. We were heading to Derby Day at the Harris Household.
Jay and Tammy Harris throw an incredible party for the Kentucky Derby. Tammy, a southern girl, typically makes country ham and biscuits, which is as delicious as it sounds. Jay ensures there are plenty of bourbon mint juleps to get everyone in the true spirit of the day. And the two of them have the amazing talent of making everyone feel like they’re the most important person at the party. They are, in short, the consummate hosts.
Much of the party takes place outdoors, making it smoker friendly, so I brought a selection of cigars for a variety of tastes: some H. Upmann classics for those looking for something easygoing, Partagas 1845s for a solid medium body, and some Viaje Super Shots for those looking for a spicier smoke.
I showed up late (my son was playing baseball) and the party was in full swing. The women were decked out in their derby best, with big, colorful hats and vibrant dresses. A few of my friends were wearing seersucker suits (perfect for the day) and I put on a pair of red shoes to add a little color to my ensemble.
I found my lovely wife, Manuela, and we clinked our glasses, just as the charity auction to benefit the local firehouse was beginning. People were bidding on each horse. She liked the name of one in particular, and she bid heavily to get it—“I’ll Have Another.” (Those of you who read Jack Bettridge’s pre-Derby Day story on bourbon will remember that the horse was his call, too, based on the name alone.)
You know how this story ends. “I’ll Have Another” won, from the 19th position, taking down the heavy favorite. Manuela and I celebrated, and she was so exuberant I fear I spilled my drink more than one time on the feet of one of the guests standing beside us. I lit another cigar to celebrate.
And yes—we had another.