The Preakness Stakes (Credit: Visit Baltimore)
The Preakness Stakes (Credit: Visit Baltimore)

Triple Crown season is here. Yay for thoroughbred racing season (and the big beautiful hats that we get to wear)!

With the Kentucky Derby set for this weekend (May 7) at the Churchill Downs, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico on May 21 and the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 11, crowds will soon be gearing up for the festivities. Some will head to see the races live, and others will have their own viewing parties. Wherever you plan to watch, don’t forget to practice your signature race cocktails!

Here are some signature cocktail recipes—one for each race—to make sure the drinks are solid at your viewing party (or pre-race party):

1. Kentucky Derby (May 7): The Mint Julep
The Mint Julep is signature drink of the race dubbed as the most exciting two minutes in sports. This Derby is, of course, the first in the race for the Triple Crown. While the Mint Julep is a well-known drink, below is the classic recipe from Old Forester:


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
  • Crushed ice
  • Old Forester straight bourbon whisky
  • Silver Julep cups


Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Old Forester Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

2. Preakness Stakes (May 21): The Black-Eyed Susan
Did you know that the Preakness Stakes also has a signature cocktail? It called the Black-Eyed Susan because the winning horse is draped with a blanket of black-eyed susans, the state flower of Maryland (where the Preakness happens to be held). Below is the recipe from Visit Baltimore:


  • 1.5 ounces of Effen vodka
  • 1 ounce of Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 2 ounces of orange juice
  • 2 ounces sour mix


Mix ingredients and pour into a glass with crushed ice. Garnish with an orange and cherry.

3. Belmont Stakes (June 11): The Belmont Jewel
Belmont is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown, and its official drink is the Belmont Jewel featuring Woodford Reserve bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate. Below is the recipe straight from the Belmont Stakes team and Woodford Reserve:


  • 1.5 oz Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 2 oz lemonade
  • 1 oz pomegranate Juice
  • Orange zest


Shake vigorously with ice and serve in a rock glass with ice. Garnish with an orange.

There you have it. Now get to practicing all three signature drinks in advance of all the races! And let us know which is your favorite!

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