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    Eat & Swig

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    By Jenny Kiefer

    In 1987, my mother and some of her coworkers carried an entire unassembled cubicle into the infield. They had disassembled the hollow walls days earlier, concealing square bottles of bourbon and alcohol inside. Rebuilt inside the curve of the track, they had a makeshift, fully-stocked personal bar. Other friends would pay entry for Thurby or Oaks, where the security was more lax, looking for bushes or a hidden spot in the infield to bury their bourbon, retrieving it early Derby morning. A family friend said they used to conceal bottles underneath a wheelchair, someone sitting on top covered by a blanket.

    For this year’s event, the list of acceptable and prohibited items is long and complicated: no canned sodas — only sealed, clear plastic. Sandwiches in clear wrap, sans coolers or large bags. No selfie sticks, strollers without children, purses larger than an LP, umbrellas or drones. And, perhaps purely for monetary reasons, no booze.  

    Flasks in Disguise

    There are plenty of products designed to conceal booze, including fake shampoo and sunscreen bottles, capped beakers wrapped to look like tampons, sports bras with Camelbak-type hoses and, grossest of all, flip flops. (“Cute idea, but obviously a gag gift. Anyone that feels the need to smuggle liquid into a place in a beach shoe should be arrested,” says nearly-anonymous Amazon reviewer KJB.) The “Freedom Flask” wraps under your belt line like a fanny pack, the nozzle pointing down, too close to your crotch.

    “Although you'd look odd drinking from a sunscreen bottle it does work,” writes Ian from Phoenix, Arizona, reviewing a Party Ready Beach Bum Flask on Amazon. The front of this container is deceiving: bright orange, Banana Boat off-brand. The two-pack comes with a small funnel and each bottle holds 8 ounces. “It'll be weird having to explain to your kids why you are drinking from a sunscreen bottle, I'd figure they understand that that's why they live with their mom.”

    You might be able to get the booze in, but it will be obvious if you’re guzzling sunscreen or unzipping to pee bourbon into your soda — patrons are reminded: “If you see something, say something.” Or maybe that’s just part of the drunken, infield experience.

    "Special" Fruit

    If you want an apple that sweats bourbon or some soggy vodka strawberries, you can stab them with a food-grade syringe and squeeze. The trick, apparently, is to buy citrus fruits and inject small portions beyond the peel in each segment. But these will only give a faint buzz — even a grapefruit can only hold about a shot of liquor without falling to mush. Not to mention the curious effect of a bourbon-scented orange as you open your clear, 18” by 18” lunch box for the security guard.

    The Decoy Bottle

    I’ve been told to buy a small bottle of cheap vodka and barely try to conceal it. Let the guard find it and throw it out. Apparently this will make them forget to check the rest of your clear plastic bag or stroller (with accompanying child).

    Best Sandwiches Ever

    Once coolers (and cubicles) were banned, my parents still refused to pay the exorbitant alcohol prices. Instead they poured a shot of bourbon into a zipped sandwich bag, taped and sealed. Turkey, cheese and a tortilla wrapped around the bourbon, the whole thing tightly encased with plastic wrap. Once inside, you can squeeze your shot into your sealed, clear and unopened plastic bottle of Ale-8 — or straight into your mouth.

    Cover Image: Freedom Flask

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