Shopping 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.
- 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.
- Combine the orange pineapple juice with the vodka, rum, orange liqueur, and lime juice.
- Fill two glasses (mason jar mugs are the perfect size) with crushed ice.
- 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.