Off to the Races! Preakness 2013


Black Eyed Susan Punch

Pitcher of Black-Eyed Susans, the official drink of the Preakness.
Photo credit: Allison Beuker

Unlike the title says, we’re actually staying home on Saturday. But we’re going to pretend we’re there when we drink the official drink of the Preakness, the Black-Eyed Susan.

I found at least three vastly different variations of the cocktail (or should we call it a punch since it’s mixed in a batch?) and it appears there are many more.  The current Official Black-Eyed Susan at the 2013 Preakness site calls for Finlandia vodka, St. Germain liqueur, lemon juice, lemongrass and blackberry simple syrup, Angostura bitters, and a sage leaf garnish.  Say what??  That would send us packing for the liquor store with another stop at the grocery store and no, we are not doing that.  Another so-called official recipe from racing yore called for whiskey, vodka, sweet and sour mix, and orange juice.

Photo credit:  Allison Beuker

Photo credit: Allison Beuker

We prefer the simple one below.  We have all the ingredients and it tastes really good.

From The Washington Post in 2006.


1 1/4 cup vodka
1 1/4 cup light rum
3/4 cup triple sec
Juice from one lime
4 cups orange juice
4 cups pineapple juice
Lime slices

Chill all ingredients. Combine in a punch bowl or pitcher. Serve over ice in tall glasses or punch glasses. Makes 10 large or 20 small servings. Garnish with a slice of lime.

Photo credit:  Allison Beuker

Photo credit: Allison Beuker


Maryland has a deep horse breeding and racing history.  The Maryland Jockey Club was founded in Annapolis in 1743.  That’s more than 30 years before the start of the Revolutionary War.

According to Wikipedia it is chartered as the oldest sporting organization in North America.  The Maryland Jockey Club is still the name of the company that runs the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore (opened in 1870), the Laurel Park Racecourse (opened in 1911) and the Bowie Race Track (opened in 1914; ceased operation as a track in 1985;  now a training center for thoroughbreds.)

George Washington was said to have frequented the race track meetings in 1762-1773 (when he wasn’t attending to the business of founding the country and dealing with the interference of the French and Indian War.)

Okay you culinary sleuths and history buffs out there, what was George drinking at the Pimlico Race Course in the mid 1700s?  We bet it wasn’t vodka and St. Germain liqueur.

Two more interesting facts I learned while writing this post:

  • Since rudbeckia (the black-eyed susan flower) doesn’t bloom in Maryland until June, the flower blanket that is woven and placed over the Preakness-winning horse in May is made with Viking daisies whose centers have been painted black.
  • Even though we think of Kentucky as being the center of thoroughbred horse racing, many, many thoroughbred breeders, trainers and owners who have run horses in the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont are generations-old Marylanders.

Cheers all and place your bets,