The Black-Eyed Susan: The Official Cocktail of the Preakness Stakes

Black Eyed Susan cocktail
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
  • 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving
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The official drink of the Preakness Stakes is the Black-Eyed Susan. While the name doesn't change, there have been a few "official" recipes over the years. Vodka and orange juice are always the focus, and sometimes we see a little whiskey or rum tossed into the mix. One thing's for sure, it's always a great drink to enjoy while watching the race.

The 2017 Black-Eyed Susan cocktail (according to the Preakness website) features Effen Vodka and Makers Mark Bourbon with a little Peachtree, orange juice, and sour mix. It's a very nice fruit drink and should be an excellent cocktail for the Preakness or any day of the year.

What You'll Need

How to Make It

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  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 
  2. Shake well
  3. Strain over crushed ice in a tall glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange and cherry.

(Recipe from Preakness Stakes)

This recipe is measured in parts and it's very easy to adapt it to fit any glass size. For instance, to create a 7-ounce cocktail, pour 1 ounce of each liquor and 2 ounces each of the juice and sour mix.

This pour should be the perfect amount for a single drink, though you can make it taller or shorter if you like.

Just make sure to keep the ingredients in proportion to retain the balance of flavors.

Why So Many Black-Eyed Susans?

Professional sports are filled with sponsorships and the Triple Crown of horse racing is no different. It's just not as blatant and we see it most often in the "official cocktail" of each race.

The drinks of the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness have changed quite a few times over the years. And yet, the Mint Julep is so ingrained in the Kentucky Derby that it will never go away. However, there is a new "official Mint Julep recipe" released each year with a few minor tweaks that are always fun to revisit.

The Preakness regularly changes the "official cocktail," though the name stays the same. It's entirely possible that the Black-Eyed Susan recipe will continue to change each year.

The Elderflower Black-Eyed Susan

An interesting twist, the 2015 official Black-Eyed Susan recipe was one of the few in recent years to skip the whiskey completely. This is a semi-floral and fruity cocktail that is very refreshing.

To make the drink: Build 1 1/2 ounce Finlandia Vodka, 1/2 ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, 2 ounces pineapple juice, 1/4 ounce lime juice, and 3/4 ounce orange juice in a tall glass filled with ice. Stir well and garnish with an orange slice.

A Simplified Black-Eyed Susan

The Black-Eyed Susan is always a rather simple drink and this recipe is among the easiest. The recipe hails from the 2011 Preakness and includes both whiskey and vodka. It is served as a tall drink and can be thought of as an enhanced Screwdriver with a Whiskey Sour kick.

To make the drink: Combine 1 1/4 ounces Early Times Kentucky Whiskey, 3/4 ounce 42 Below Vodka, 3 ounces sour mix, and 2 ounces orange juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well, then strain into a collins glass with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.

The Original Black-Eyed Susan

The first cocktail that took on the Black-Eyed Susan name combined rum and vodka with equal parts of orange and pineapple juices. Apparently, this one began in 1973 as a ready-to-drink cocktail

To make the drink: Combine 1 ounce each vodka and Mount Gay Eclipse Rum with 3/4 ounce Cointreau and 1 1/2 ounces each fresh orange juice and pineapple juice in collins glass filled with crushed ice. Squeeze the juice of a lime wedge into the drink. Garnish with an orange wheel, pineapple cube, and cherry. 

(Edited by Colleen Graham)