The Black-Eyed Susan has been the official cocktail of the Preakness Stakes since time immemorial. At least since the 1950s, estimates Pimlico Race Track historian Joe Kelly.
The cocktail has been re-invented over the years, but not enough to satisfy people's complaints. Back in 1985, reporter Rob Kasper ran a contest to replace it with a new cocktail.
It's time to give a coup another try. It's not like there isn't precedent. The White Carnation had been the official cocktail of the Belmont Stakes for years, until master mixologist Dale DeGroff suggested a change to his version of whiskey punch, which he called the Belmont Breeze. It’s now been the race’s drink of choice for 13 years.
In a long-shot appeal to the Maryland Jockey Club to replace a cocktail that’s ran one too many laps, we asked five of Baltimore’s best mixologists and bartenders to come up with a new official Preakness drink.
The recipes by B&O American Brasserie's Brendan Dorr, Bad Decisions' John Reusing (at right), Vino Rosina's Tiffany Haleamau, Idle Hour's Randal Etheridge (an excellent chartreuse-and-Pikesville rye cocktail he dubbed "Pikesville Palomino), and Holy Frijoles' Aylen Beazley-Maquehue can be found here.
After the story went to press, I got another recipe from Blackwater Distilling, the new Maryland distillery responsible for Sloop Betty Vodka.
They're calling their cocktail the Baltimore Blossom.
To make it, muddle four raspberries and five basil leaves (rolled).
Add 1.5 oz Sloop Betty vodka, 1.5 oz cranberry juice, 1 dash Bitter Truth Grapefruit Bitters.
Shake and strain over ice.
Garnish with basil flower.