Saturday, June 9, 2012

Race Drinks

I'm offering recipes for the signature drinks of the three spring horse races. Our friend Caryn joined us for each race and we had a wonderful time cheering on I'll Have Another, and then Union Rags after I'll Have Another was retired.

Kentucky Derby - Mint Julep

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Sprigs of fresh mint
Crushed ice
Kentucky Whisky

Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight.

Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup (or any glass you wish) with crushed ice (or ice cubes), adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky.
Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

Happily I had fresh mint in the terrace garden. I didn't take a picture of the finished drink, but here is the simple syrup.

Isn't it pretty? Tom used it for several days after the Derby. You have to take the words of Tom and Caryn for this since I don't like whisky/bourbon. They were wowed, and said it was terrific!

Preakness Stakes - Black-Eyed Susan

There were a few different variations but this is the one I made:

1 ounce vodka
1 ounce gold rum
1/2 ounce cointreau
3 ounces fresh orange juice
1 ounce pineapple juice - I used pineapple vodka so didn't add extra pineapple juice
juice of a lime

I did try this one, but only drank a bit. Way too sweet for me. I think I'm not a rum girl or an orange juice-in-a-cocktail girl. I made myself a cosmo. However, both Tom and Caryn thought it was divine.

And then we come to the Belmont Stakes. It seems the jury is still out on what to have as the one and only official drink. There have been three so far.

Belmont Breeze
The Belmont Breeze is the official drink of the Belmont Stakes. Created by New York's premiere beverage authority Dale DeGroff, the profile of the Belmont Breeze comes from the colonial recipe: one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong and four of weak.
The ingredients are:

1 1/2 ounces of a good American blended whiskey
3/4 ounces Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry
1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice
1 ounce of simple syrup
(1 ounce of sweet and sour mix may be substituted for the lemon juice and simple syrup)
1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
1 ounce 7-Up
1 ounce Club Soda

Shake first six ingredients with ice, then top with 7-Up and club soda. Garnish with mint sprig and lemon wedge.

We put the nix on this one because of the sherry, and also, there are a lot of ingredients that we didn't think sounded particularly appealing all mixed together.

And then we have:

White Carnation (former official drink of the Belmont Stakes)
The White Carnation (vodka, peach schnapps, and orange juice) was the official drink of the Belmont Stakes until 1997 or 1998, when it was replaced by the Belmont Breeze. The carnation is the official flower of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of racing’s triple crown that takes place each June in Belmont Park. The White Carnation hasn’t been missed by many; “the nigh undrinkable white carnation."
This sounded entirely too sweet to us, and Caryn felt a little squeamish about the peach schnapps, so I went searching for an alternative, and found the Belmont Jewel:
Horse racing and whiskey cocktails go hand-in-hand. With the third leg of horse racing's Triple Crown coming up soon, what better way to celebrate either at the track, at home or perhaps at an off track site than to sip the official cocktail of the Belmont Stakes? The Woodford Reserve Belmont Jewel is a quick and easy bourbon cocktail with pomegranate and lemonade and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

1 1/2 oz Woodford Reserve bourbon
2 oz lemonade
1 oz pomegranate juice
lemon wedge or cherry for garnish

Because I'm so not a whisky fan, I made mine with Van Gogh pineapple vodka. The verdict on this drink was mixed. I think I liked it the most, though it was a little sweet for me. Caryn didn't like it at all, while Tom said it grew on him the more he drank. :<)

Oh, and for even more fun we drank the Belmont Jewel out of Red Solo Cups!

Have you heard Toby Keith sing this, or better still, seen the video?? And here's a history of the iconic cup.


  1. As soon as I saw that last picture, I thought - Red Solo Cup!

    What a lovely time you've had making fancy drinks and watching the horses! My sister and I don't get fancier than Long Island Iced Tea, which is our drink of choice.
    Cheers Nan!

    1. I found a fun little video of Long Island Iced Tea and its variations, but the one they didn't include is the one I'm a fan of called the Grateful Dead. Here's the video:

      And here is one on the GD.

  2. Knowledge of horses and cocktails both minimal though I certainly enjoyed the post!

  3. I didn't know there were special cocktails to go with horse races! Mint Julep would be my choice simply because I associate it with gracious living in the Deep South and also I love mint.

  4. "I'll Have Another!" Oh no, I forgot the colt was scratched! Oh well, I'll just have another one of your fabulous drinks... :-)

    1. I laughed right out loud when I read this! Wish I could make you one.

  5. I so need to try a Mint Julep! As our temperatures creep close to 100 today a mint julep sounds incredibly refreshing. I don't drink enough alcohol to keep it on hand, though--just a bottle of wine (in the fridge...for shame).

    Hope you're having a wonderful day Nan!

    1. I didn't begin making cocktails till I was in my early fifties. :<) You have a lot of time.

  6. I'm not a fan of Mint Juleps, but that Belmont Jewel sounds like something Rod & I would both enjoy. We're big bourbon drinkers and if we don't have some Woodford Reserve around (we used to), we have others to choose from. The other cocktail (Black-eyed Susan) sounds interesting, but I'm not a fan of vodka. Love the names of these drinks!

    1. If you like bourbon, you might want to try this MJ recipe. Honestly, Tom and Caryn are still raving about it. :<)

      Have you ever tried the Van Gogh flavored vodkas? I haven't tried all of them but they might just change your mind.


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