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Cocktail Couture: What to pair and wear in horse country & how to make the ‘Master of the Hunt’ cocktail

Recently Racked DC featured me in their Shopping Confidential column, and I revealed where in the Washington, D.C. area that I snag high design Diane Von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs pieces, among other cool, one-of-a-kind finds. Vintage and thrift shopping is in my blood: it’s my stress relief, my hobby, my fun. I have always collected old barware and home goods, so it was only natural that would also translate to my wardrobe. I love mixing and matching fabrics and prints and never being caught in the same thing as someone else.

So, to fully bring my loves for vintage fashion and styling and fine spirits and cocktails full circle, I’ve decided to start a regular feature that highlights a vintage piece in my wardrobe with several others to wear in a certain perfect setting in which I’ve been recently, paired with an elegant cocktail recipe to match.

Last month, I traveled to Salamander Resort & Spa for mine and Jay’s third wedding anniversary in Middleburg, Virginia, which is about 50 miles outside of D.C. and is the heart of the state’s horse country, with several shops, historic sites and wineries worth visiting (my favorite was the norton, Virginia’s native grape, at Chrysalis Vineyards). It seemed fitting to write about this now, when we are about to watch and celebrate the Belmont Stakes, the final race of the Triple Crown thoroughbred races on June 7. While in Middleburg, Jay and I dined in the Gold Cup Wine Bar, where guests go to see and be seen after sightseeing or meeting with business associates all day. And occasionally even to socialize post-polo match.

The Gold Cup Wine Bar at Salamander Resort & Spa

The Gold Cup Wine Bar
Photos courtesy of Salamander Resort & Spa

Gold Cup Wine Bar at Salamander Resort & Spa

The Gold Cup Wine Bar at Salamander Resort & Spa

Since Middleburg is known as “Hunt Country,” as in the United Kingdom foxhunting tradition  whereby horsemen use a pack of hounds to track and chase red foxes (and which is still a tradition there today), I naturally opted for the ‘Master of the Hunt’ cocktail, which uses rye, quality vermouth and Fernet-Branca with fennel to make a refreshing cocktail on the rocks that drinks like a proper aperitif.

Make the ‘Master of the Hunt’

Courtesy of the Gold Cup Wine Bar, Salamander Resort & Spa

Master of the Hunt cocktail at Salamander Resort & Spa

Photo courtesy of Salamander Resort & Spa

2 ounces Bulleit Rye

1 ounce Carpano Antica vermouth

1 ounce Fernet-Branca

1/2 ounce fennel syrup

   1 1/2 ounces lemon juice

Mix all ingredients together with ice in a glass and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Now,  because the evenings are still cool here in Washington, D.C. and because I wanted to get away from the usual tweeds and riding boots, I’m pairing this herbal libation with a UK-inspired, comfortable, formal-meets-casual outfit that incorporates old and new pieces that could easily be mixed, matched, layered and switched up:

PicMonkey Collage Scottish Outfit.jpg.jpg


1. Vintage Pendleton Scottish Tartan Blazer, $22

A classic piece from a high-quality and established brand that can be mixed and matched for various occasions (the Salamander Resort & Spa is on Pendleton Street–bonus!)

2. Tibi Silk Halter Cami, $60

Simple, quality material, comfortable. Doesn’t compete with the busy blazer pattern and the high neckline is a nice juxtaposition of the triangular and elongated shape of the blazer collar.

3. Citizens of Humanity Dylan Distressed Straight Leg Jeans, $228

Designer jeans can be dressed up or down – even those with holes in them. They look great on you and you look like you’re not trying too hard.

4. Enzo Angiolini Fastir Pump, $120

Dresses up the plaid and jeans. The ankle strap provides a layering look under the jean cuffs.

5. Vintage Copper Colored Celtic Cross Earrings, $24

Subtly keeping with the Scottish theme, these brassy earrings are funky but small enough  to look polished.

What are horse country chic pieces you own? What’s your favorite cocktail to sip for outdoor events? Leave a comment for me!

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