This weekend, and pretty much this weekend only, the bar staff at the Food Market will be offering the Black-eyed Susan, the official drink of the Preakness.
"We make a traditional version, because that's what people want," said Vincent Mancini, the director of operations at the Hampden restaurant.
But after the Preakness, the Black-eyed Susan vanishes from the Food Market's bar, which will celebrate its third anniversary on June 8.
But waiting to take its place is another popular Triple Crown-inspired cocktail. It's the Pimlico Playboy, and along with a few others, like the French Tease and the Robert Frost, it has been featured on the Food Market's cocktail menu since the early days, even as the bar staff rotates new concoctions on and off.
"It's really just our spin on the Mint Julep," Mancini said. "We just put a spin on it to make it more about the Preakness and Pimlico."
As it happens, the recipe for the Pimlico Playboy is pretty close to the traditional mint julep recipe, or at least the muddled version. (A purist might insist that the mint is a last-second addition, as an aromatic garnish.)
I'm pro-muddling by the way. I like how, as with the Pimlico Playboy, the mint flavor gets infused throughout the cocktail. This is a strong cocktail, the kind of thing you want on a hot spring night, when you've finished responding to all of your emails. The first sip jolted me a little, but I was sipping from the top. Then I stirred the drink up a bit with the straw. The next sip was sweeter and mellower.
The Pimlico Playboy might not win points for innovation or for advancing the science of mixology. But it does win the affection of bourbon lovers.
It may, in fact, be a barely disguised mint julep. And I'm perfectly fine with that. It's horse-racing season after all.
How to make the Pimlico Playboy
3 oz. 1792 Bourbon
1 tablespoon simple syrup
Fresh mint leaves
Club soda to fill
Muddle mint leaves in the simple syrup at the bottom of a rocks glass. Add crushed ice and pour in bourbon. Fill glass to the top with club soda.
Where to get The Pimlico Playboy
The Food Market
1017 W. 36th St., Hampden