As Clairee Belcher says in Steel Magnolias, “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize”—and, perhaps, to mix cocktails. For those astute Southerners who enjoy both the classic dramedy and a stiff drink, the lauded Louisville restaurant North of Bourbon offers an ideal sipper: the fruit-forward Shelby Drink Your Juice.
North of Bourbon—which John T. Edge included in G&G’s August/September 2022 “Appetite for Travel” story on twenty-five dining destinations worth the drive—also makes a mean cocktail. The Shelby, though, is personal.
For twenty years, co-owners Daniel and Stacy Holyfield had a toy poodle named Shelby. She rode along with the husband and wife on vacations, including to New Orleans, where she would perch atop bars the Holyfields visited. She also starred in any barbecue or crawfish boil, football Sunday, or pool party the Holyfields threw, events often spent with their best friends and their North of Bourbon co-owners, the brothers “Uncle Eric” and “Uncle Brad” Jennings.
“Drink the juice,” is, of course, a famous line from Steel Magnolias, said by mama M’Lynn (played in the film by Sally Field) when her daughter, the diabetic Shelby (Julia Roberts), has a hypoglycemic attack. The Holyfields relate that their friends used to say “Shelby drink your juice” to one another, to encourage each other to “drink up and pick up the pace.” They named Shelby the poodle after the phrase, and then the cocktail—which features the classic Kentucky ginger soda Ale-8-One—after her, following her death.