OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShopping for a colossal hat and jetting off to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby has long been on my bucket list. I don’t follow horse racing in any capacity, but I do watch the Derby on TV every year, if for no other reason than to soak up the culture and ambiance à la distance.

But there’s no reason why those of us not fortunate enough to attend the race in person can’t celebrate on our own. This year I decided to get in the spirit by stirring up a couple of cocktails. I don’t really care for mint, so Mint Juleps—the drink most closely associated with the Kentucky Derby—were out of the question. But I pecked around online and discovered the Black-Eyed Susan. This sweet and tangy cocktail is actually the official drink of the Preakness, but . . . well, it’s delicious, so let’s not split hairs.

I started with this Southern Living recipe and made a few tiny adjustments. It makes exactly two cocktails, which makes it perfect for enjoying the Derby with your favorite person.

Black-Eyed Susan


  • 1 1/4 cups orange pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons vodka
  • 3 tablespoons rum
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
  • The juice of one lime
  • Crushed ice
  • Garnishes: lime wedges or slices, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, etc.



  1. Combine the orange pineapple juice with the vodka, rum, orange liqueur, and lime juice.
  2. Fill two glasses (mason jar mugs are the perfect size) with crushed ice.
  3. Pour the mixture over the ice, garnish as desired, and serve immediately (preferably with a fun paper straw).

And there you go! Don’t be deceived by appearances—these pretty looking cocktails have extra horsepower. One or two and you’ll be feeling like a thoroughbred at the gate.


Happy Derby Day!


The original recipe calls for 3/4 cups of orange juice and 1/2 cup of pineapple juice. I don’t drink a lot of juice so I didn’t want to buy a whole bottle of each. The Simply Orange with Pineapple I found worked just fine.