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

Black Eyed Susan cocktail
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Ratings (13)
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
695 Calories
5g Fat
109g Carbs
12g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 serving
Amount per serving
Calories 695
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 18mg 6%
Sodium 974mg 42%
Total Carbohydrate 109g 40%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 12g
Calcium 255mg 20%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Each of the Triple Crown races has its own official drink. The Kentucky Derby, of course, is always accompanied by a classic Mint Julep, and the official drink of the Preakness Stakes is the Black-Eyed Susan. While the name of the drink doesn't change from year to year, 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 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.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 

  3. Strain over crushed ice in a tall glass.

  4. Garnish with an orange and cherry.

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?

The drinks of the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness have changed quite a few times over the years, in part due to changes in the official sponsors of the races. 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.

Variations on the Black-Eyed Susan

While each year's recipe is a little different, a few are standouts while others are somewhat forgettable. Here are three memorable versions of the Black-Eyed Susan.

2015's Floral, Fruity, and Whiskey-Free

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 in a 3/4 ounce orange juice in a tall glass filled with ice, mix:

 Stir well and garnish with an orange slice.

2011's 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 in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine:

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 in a collins glass filled with crushed ice, combine:

Squeeze the juice of a lime wedge into the drink. Garnish with an orange wheel, pineapple cube, and cherry.