The KA Mint Julip

The Mint Julep is about as “southern” as it gets, and it gets quite a bit of play during the Kentucky Derby. Now, I don’t believe that “southern” is an adjective, but if so it could be used to describe my dad’s fraternity: Kappa Alpha Order. My dad was a KA in the 60s at a small school in South Carolina, and is still very close with quite a few of his brothers.

I remember quite a few fraternity stories from my dad when I was growing up, particularly stories about their famous Mint Julep – which isn’t like other mint juleps…he calls it the KA Mint Julep, because it was the recipe they used, and he hasn’t seen it made this way since. Well, after years and years of trying, I was able to pry the recipe out of him…it is with great pleasure that I give you the KA Mint Julep:

The Day Before:

Per drink, take one teaspoon of soda water, one teaspoon of powdered sugar, and 3 fresh mint leaves (multiply per drink).

Grind in a ball and pistol and drain all the liquid into a jar.

Refrigerate overnight.

After the mint concoction has spent the night in the refrigerator and it’s time to party, fill a sterling silver julep cup with crushed or shaved ice all the way to the top.

Pour one ounce of juice into cup and let settle.  Refill ice to the top of the cup.  Pour three to four ounces of bourbon over ice.  Do not stir!!! Re-top with ice again and garnish with mint.  Do not stir!!!!

Now, the secret:  Take a straw and insert until about halfway down in the drink.  When you take a sip, you should taste both mint and bourbon in a manner that you have never experienced before.  Keep moving the straw as you drink to keep the balance correct.  Do not stir!!!!

These are really fun to drink and talk about as you get totally sh!tfaced.  One is usually enough because nobody drinks one slowly…  Unless you want a sloppy mess, I would suggest 80-proof bourbon or a short party.  Have fun…

I did this piece for Onward Reserve’s Gazette – be sure to check it out!

Quick Hitter: East Dane Beach Ready

Clockwise from top left:  Carrera  /  Mark McNairy  /  Tretorn  /  Scotch & Soda  /  East Dane

I Went To The Woods Because I Wished To Live Deliberately – Orvis Trout Bum

I really enjoy working with such a great company like Orvis.  They are making huge strides in the #menswear arena, and remain a cut above when it comes to what they are known for: outdoors.  Their new Trout Bum line is out of this world…anyone who has seen the sections of their stores dedicated to the line, or has a few pieces of their own can attest to the quality and style.

Orvis finished up these videos last week and sent them over.  They are specific Trout Bum content in a co-ed version, a women’s version, and a men’s version.  They are so great – they really capture the essence of fly fishing, being outdoors, and being with friends.  Big props to the Thereau action in the men’s video.

I sent the videos to a buddy of mine who is an avid fly fisherman, as well as to my dad, who has been known to get a line in the water, and they were blown away.  Their comments: “I’m having a hard time working.  I keep watching them over and over”.  And “I want the Orvis Drirelease Long Sleeve Zip Neck Casting shirt.  Weathered red and grey.  Happy Father’s Day”.  He’s a good man.

Enjoy, folks:

Women’s:

And Men’s:

The Custom Needlepoint Belt Option

The Smathers and Branson needlepoint belts are really works of art.  The designs are crisp, the colors are bright, and the leather backing is really nice for a $165 belt.  I love the look…I have a TON of (let’s call them) emblematic belts, but I’m being drawn to these S&B belts more than the others.  These are my collection of Smathers & Branson belts (I have a few other non-S&B belts).  I have four belts more in the works, and I’m pumped to add them to the rotation.

Now, while I love the normal S&B catalog, and am looking forward to sharing their new designs with all of you readers, I have really enjoyed their custom belts.  As I’m sure you’ve all seen, S&B does belts that aren’t available on their website, and require some digging on the Internet or a visit to the golf club/resort/etc.  The exclusivity gives them a bit of a unicorn feel, and they draw quite a few comments and questions:

The first custom S&B I got was the Masters belt back in 2012.  My friend Emmie got this for me while she was down in Augusta, and really had to dig to find it.  I posted about it, and my social media exploded.  Over the next couple years, the S&B presence at The Masters has exponentially expanded…you can get just about any size and color you need on Ebay (for a nice premium).  My others are from some private clubs, Charleston, the Fine Swine, and the Shotgun belt from Onward Reserve.

So, let’s make this post the definitive Smathers & Branson custom belt resource.  I found all these online, and I know there are a TON more.  Do you have a custom S&B belt?  Send a picture and a description to jrs@redclaysoul.com and I’ll update this post.  This should be fun:

Sea Island needlepoint belt

Southern Proper lifestyle belt

“Eat a Peach” belt from Miller Brothers in Atlanta (this one is on the way)

Merion Golf Club

Pappy & Co Belts (available in blue and khaki)

Red’s Outfitters belt

Plainswear (WDE)

Bandon Dunes Golf Club

Locksicker (much more on these folks later..)

Kiawah – I couldn’t find the belt online, but if they have a keychain, they should have a belt.

Keeneland

Grateful Dead options

Alright, folks – let’s hear it!  What custom Smathers & Branson belt do you have?  Send me a picture and a description and I’ll post it here…

READER SUBMISSIONS:

Boca Grande Outfitters from J. Obeck:

Old MacDonald, Custom Elon, and Custom Lifestyle belts from G. McKnight:

Custom Needlepoint from J. Payne:

A very nice collection from Sugarloaf Social Club:

One of B. Bujnowski’s many custom S&B needlepoint belts, this one from Stonewall Links:

WEDNESDAY READER UPDATES:

Pace Academy from E. Irvin:

Oakmont CC from @bonairgolfclub:

Country Club of Florida Member-Guest Invitational custom belt from J. Ray:

TUESDAY, MAY 5TH UPDATES:

The lawn and Mr. Jefferson’s University from Wm. Barker:

Callaway Big Bertha Belt from Ashli W:

S&B Virginia belt that is custom for Peter Blair, a haberdashery in Richmond from JKB:

First one is a life belt and the next to are for The Pingry School (a private high school in NJ) from Kevin S:

 From EMG…starting at the top:
1.Custom needlepoint belt, gun theme.
2. Masters
3. Nantucket
4. Nantucket
5. Polo Ralph Lauren
6. Hunting Theme, Ralph Lauren
7. Boca Grande

MONDAY, MAY 11TH UPDATE:

Perlis down in New Orleans coming up BIG, with Pelicans, Hot Sauce, and Raw Bar:

Cypress Point members logo and The Country Club (Brookline):

How about it, you Clemson Tiger fans…from M.H. Frank:

And a really nice collection from H. Lacassagne:

Keep ‘em coming!  Send me a picture of your custom S&B belt to jrs@redclaysoul.com and I’ll update the post…

Ready To Rumble: Mullet Toss Weekend

Y’all ready to rock?  It’s Mullet Toss weekend in Orange Beach, AL.  Head on down to Flora-Bama and partake…  If you’ve never done it, it’s worth the trip.  What is Mullet Toss?  It’s simple, really: you throw a fish as far as you can.  If you’ve been before, you probably aren’t reading this, because you’re already there and cell service sucks on the beach…

Highlights:

 

Have fun, folks. And act like you were raised right…or make sure there are no camera phones around.

The Social Primer Charleston Blazer Collection (Behind the Scenes)

My friend Cooper…what can I say.  I’ve been reading his blog Social Primer for as long as I can remember.  I met Cooper about three years ago right after he launched his bow tie collection with Brooks Brothers, and we became fast friends.  Cooper has a style all his own, but one that is not rooted in ‘fashion’, but historical, traditional, genteel style that is timeless.  Now, Cooper does put his twist on things, but they are incremental additions, not weird velcro-like chachkies that detract from what is important.

Cooper recently started a Kickstarter project to fund his new concept: blazers.  We talked about his blazer concept about six months ago on a visit to Charleston, his hometown.  I can tell you that no detail has gone overlooked.  The blazers below are exactly what he was going for.  This is NOT your navy blazer folk.  This is another level.  His blazers look incredible, but starting a line like this takes a lot of capital.  A lot.  It’s a huge risk for him, but in the end, the only regrets we have are the risks we didn’t take.  I reached out to Cooper to get some background on his blazer collection.  I’ll let y’all hear it from the man himself:

Why does the world need another blazer?  No way, no how does the world need another blazer. every Tom, Dick and Uniglo can make a blazer. And off-shore Chinese cheap! Buuuuuuuut, The Charleston Blazer is the extra piece, the last dance, the cherry on top of a man-who-gives-a-damn’ wardrobe. I think of TCB as a party blazer. You start with it fresh and spiffy at Memorial Day, all upright and bow-tied. It makes a few more “special occasion” appearances (church, weddings, derbys, tailgates) before arriving at Independence Day. It’s beginning to rumple, maybe there’s a liquor spill or two but it’s still appropriate for most casual occasions. I want guys to wear the hell out of it because it’s comfortable, light and breathes. And then by Labor Day, for the last hurrah, it’s beginning to fray at the sleeves. There are many more spills and a grass stain or two. Then it’s cleaned and put away until next summer. THEN it will be broken in and become a supremely awesome classic.

These aren’t just any blazers…from a style perspective, what sets them apart?  I’m an out and proud bi-blazer. I appreciate the finer points of British style (peak lapels, Savile Row vents) but I also demand the American comfort (softer shoulder, looser sleeves). This is the same pattern as my Evening Wear jacket with an extra button added.

For those outside your city limits, describe the importance of Charleston in the Social Primer ecosystem?  Ha. Charleston is the center of the Southern universe. It is Dixieland mecca for Southerners. We come here to pay hommage to our mother church. Peacock style here is real. Men dress for each other and women swoon. It is expected that a man wears a blazer to most every public event. For those of us who love to dress, this is the stage. Hence, my inspiration and my creative mission: Dress that Charleston man, and those who want to emulate him.

What is your favorite piece from your recent collection?  That’s like asking if I love Tess more than Brother! It’s a daily change of heart. This latest collection came from my experimenting with actual mattress ticking last summer. I wanted to see how the fabric handled tailoring. It was perfect, crisp yet light, I knew I would make that blazer. Then my factory called to say they had some Oxford cloth. I said, whip it up! Madras is a natural. I would wear it everyday in the summer. And most days I do. The DAF style is nuts, even by my twisted standards. It is attention-seeking and clown-like. You have to be ready for eyeballs when you don the DAF. And I am that brave sometimes.

Why should someone donate to your Kickstarter?  I am a one-man show, for the most part. I have generous friends and interns, but the bulk of the work sits on these skinny shoulders. The work is endless but I love what I do. I love thinking of new takes on classic menswear and then presenting it to others, whether through mechandise, styling or photographs. I’m seriously turned on by showing someone a new way of wearing something. Wait, what was the question? Oh, why spend your money on The Charleston Blazer? Social Primer is an American company. Yes, made in the South, by Americans. The production cost is higher, as well as the quality, but it beats the pants off every one of those other, er, competition. I challenge your followers to check the labels of their favorite brands. 9 out of 10 are made by foreign hands. And that is no exageration. My grandmother Emma Sue rose from picking cotton in the hot sun to Vice President of Russell Mills. She would take me school shopping when I visited her in Alexander City, AL. Anything I selected, ANYTHING, she would first check the label. If it didn’t say Made in America, it was not purchased. “Put it back,” she would say sternly but sweetly. That stays with me every day.

After much research of the competion, I found — generally speaking — that they price their blazers at 495.00 retail. There is no way, NO WAY, to make a quality blazer at that price when you have to wholesale it. So in order to create this collection, I am taking much less profit just to get my foot in the door. That is why I went to Kickstarter. It allows entreprenuers to realize their dreams against incredible odds agianst your success. Let’s face it, the apparel business has a high risk of failure. Stores and their buyers are fickle, loyalty must connect to dollar signs and foreign pricing beats the poop out of American factories. But those factories are still here, many of them here in the South. The generation that built them is stil alive, greying and slowing down, but still alive. I cherish the idea of working with — and learning from — this great generation.

Car Shopping: The Holland & Holland Range Rover

Well, I can’t say that I don’t have a wondering eye when it comes to cars…I love my LR3 to death, and have enjoyed driving it over the last few years.  That said, I come across ‘deals’ and options quite a bit.  I came across an option last night that really has me wondering…the 2015 Holland & Holland Range Rover:

I love the green and chrome look.  let’s call it ‘Urban Camo’.

Very handsome interior.  At $285K it should come with a weekly visit from a housekeeper.

Nice little details like this that will be PERFECT for taking Instagram pictures when I’m stuck in Atlanta traffic.

A back seat like this makes me want to hire a driver.  Or my dog(s) will love riding in these…while I drive.

While I don’t know if packing heat on a daily commute would be smiled upon, it is nice to have options.

In all seriousness, this is such a beautiful truck.  I love the green, and I love the interior color.  While it is a bit pricy, it’s nice to see collaborations like this that really highlight these two brands.  What do you think?  Should I take the plunge?

Images: Business Insider