The Black Eyed Susan Cocktail is the official drink of the Preakness Stakes, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown. With a wonderful mix of fruit juice, rum and vodka, you’ll be making these all year long!
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When most people think of horse racing, the first thing that comes to mind is the Kentucky Derby. But when you’re in Maryland, Preakness is where it’s at. Yes, I know that’s not proper English, but it’s true. In the 90’s, we went to Preakness almost every year. We always did the infield, because that was the big party and we were in our 20’s. Picture 100,000 people, all day in the blazing sunshine and heat, so I’m continually thankful that there was no social media or cell phones back then. The funny thing is, I’ve heard that the 90’s were tame in comparison to the 70’s and 80’s. I haven’t been to the infield in 20 years, and honestly have no desire to go back. My next trip will be to the grandstands, with the pretty people, in a dress and big hat.
Two years ago, I decided to host a Preakness party. I’m always looking for a reason to host a party, and celebrating Preakness seemed as good as any. Especially because several of my friends didn’t even realize that Preakness is a big deal. When we went to Preakness, our drinks got as fancy as beer…or the liquor we snuck in, mixed with orange juice. After a little research, I learned that the Black Eyed Susan is the Official Cocktail of The Preakness Stakes. The Black Eyed Susan is the state flower of Maryland, and the winning horse gets draped in a blanket covered in the flowers. Me, I just wanted a fun, themed cocktail!
How did I not learn about the deliciousness that is a Black Eyed Susan until 2 years ago?! They were an absolute hit at the party, and we couldn’t make them fast enough.
WHAT’S IN A BLACK EYED SUSAN?
I found many different versions of the “official” recipe, but what doesn’t change is vodka and and orange juice. So basically, it’s an amped-up screwdriver
- Vodka – I’m very particular when it comes to vodka, and only ever have Grey Goose and Tito’s in my house. You can use your favorite vodka, but I wouldn’t use a flavored vodka, or it will change the flavor of the entire drink
- Rum – I’ve seen recipes call for light rum, but just like vodka I’m particular about my rum. I’ve been a Captain Morgan girl since college. It’s a dark, spiced rum, and adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the drink
- Orange juice and pineapple juice – I’m not a fan of pineapple juice on its own, because it’s too tart. A few years ago I discovered a delicious Orange/Pineapple/Banana Juice combination. I really like it, and it covers both juices in one. Plus, the banana flavor tones down the sweetness of the orange and pineapple. Orange/Pineapple juice is a good substitute, and will have more of a bite.
- Orange liqueur – some recipes call for Grand Marnier, but I didn’t have any. I did, however, have Triple Sec, so that’s what we used.
- Garnish – I’ve used limes, oranges, and cherries as garnish. I like to use Maraschino Cherries
I originally planned to make a big batch of the Black Eyed Susans before the party began. but I didn’t want it to get watered down. And I also knew that some of my guests would stick with their favorite beverages. In the end, it worked out the best to make the Black Eyed Susans as needed, so guests could adjust the strength to their liking.
The best part about the Black Eyed Susan? It’s definitely not just a drink for Preakness! With the light and fruity flavor, it’s perfect to enjoy all summer long.
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 1 part Rum (I use Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum)
- 1 part Vodka (I use Tito's or Grey Goose)
- 1 part Triple Sec or your favorite orange liqueur
- 3-4 parts Orange/Pineapple juice
- lime slices (for garnish)
- Maraschino cherries (for garnish)
- THIS RECIPE IS IN PARTS. So you can adjust the parts depending on the size of the glass. The key is to keep the ratio the same, so that the flavors and strenght stay consistent.
- NOTE: I do not have a cocktail shaker or mesh strainer, so I make the drink in the glass. However, if you do have a shaker/strainer, then make the drink in the shaker and pour over ice
- Fill a glass with ice. Add rum, vodka, and triple sec. Add enough juice to fill the glass. Use a cocktail stirrer to mix. Garnish with lime slices and cherries