The Black-Eyed Susan

Black eyed susan cocktail

The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
695 Calories
5g Fat
109g Carbs
12g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
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 iconic mint julep always accompanies the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes has the Belmont jewel, and the Preakness Stakes' official drink is the black-eyed Susan. Named after the Maryland state flower and first created in 1973, it's a refreshing cocktail that anyone can make at home.

While the drink's name doesn't change, there have been a few "official" black-eyed Susan recipes over the years. Vodka and orange juice are always the focus, and sometimes there's a little whiskey or rum tossed into the mix. Pineapple juice also makes an appearance in some versions. One thing, however, never changes: It's a great drink to enjoy while watching the mid-May horse race.

This modern black-eyed Susan cocktail features vodka and bourbon shaken with peach schnapps, orange juice, and sour mix. It's a nice fruity mix that is enjoyable any day of the year.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce bourbon whiskey
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce ​peach schnapps
  • 2 ounces ​orange juice
  • 2 ounces​ sour mix
  • Orange slice, for garnish
  • Cherry, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for black-eyed Susan

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  2. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the bourbon, vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, and sour mix.

    Cocktail shaker with ice

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  3. Shake well

    Shaker

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  4. Strain over crushed ice into a tall glass.

    Strain over crushed ice

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

  5. Garnish with an orange slice and cherry. Serve and enjoy.

    Garnish

    The Spruce / Teena Agnel

Tips

  • The recipe's measurements create a tall, 7-ounce drink, and you can make it taller or shorter if you like. It's often best to keep the liquors at the recommended pours, then make adjustments to the sour mix and then the orange juice.
  • Sour mix is a citrus-flavored simple syrup that's easy to make at home. A homemade sour mix is better than store-bought options because it has a fresher flavor, and you can adjust the sweet and sour flavors to suit your taste.

Recipe Variations

  • The original black-eyed Susan cocktail called for 1 ounce each of vodka and rum, 3/4 ounce of orange liqueur, and 1 1/2 ounces each of orange and pineapple juices. Garnish it with an orange wheel, pineapple cube, and cherry.
  • Other black-eyed Susan recipes use vodka alone or skip the peach schnapps, while some vary the juice ratios.
  • This fruity cocktail is excellent with just tequila or rum; pour a full 2-ounce shot and keep the peach schnapps.
  • Make this cocktail a little more refreshing by topping it with your favorite clear, lightly flavored soda.

How Strong Is a Black-Eyed Susan?

With a high volume of nonalcoholic mixers, the black-eyed Susan is not a terribly strong drink. All those fruits tame the alcohol content down to a pleasant 15 percent ABV (30 proof). That's in line with most tall mixed drinks and a little stronger than wine.

When Was the Black-Eyed Susan Created?

The official story is that the black-eyed Susan made its debut at Pimlico Race Course during the 1973 race. It was created by Harry Stevens, whose catering company had long provided food at the Baltimore track. Stevens and his team wanted to create a special cocktail that took on the color of the black-eyed Susan flowers draped over each winning horse. The cocktail also pairs very well with the Maryland crab cakes that are traditionally served at Pimlico.

Why Are There So Many Black-Eyed Susan Recipes?

The drinks of the Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes have seen several iterations over the years. The Preakness has been more consistent, offering slight variations of the black-eyed Susan since it was introduced. These recipe changes are primarily due to which liquor company is the official sponsor for that year's race, so the ingredients feature those brands. Simultaneously, the mint julep is so ingrained in the Kentucky Derby that it has become a permanent fixture. The original will always remain the favorite; however, a new "official" mint julep recipe is released each year with a few minor tweaks.