The Preakness

There’s no doubt that the name of this cocktail is based on the Baltimore leg of the Triple Crown, but all we really know about its history is that it was first concocted and dubbed the Preakness sometime in the first half of the 20th century. The mix of ingredients recalls the basis of some classic cocktail recipes, such as the Manhattan (with the addition of the Benedictine and lemon).

It’s easy to envision this drink being enjoyed in the early 1900’s by racegoers at Pimlico on the day of the Preakness Stakes – the thrill of a close horse race, putting money on the line for that chance at beating the odds, and sipping a clean, well-composed cocktail as thousands of people cheer for their favorite.

Unfortunately, if you attend the Preakness today, you won’t find this cocktail being served. Since the 1970’s the official cocktail of Preakness has been the Black-Eyed Susan (named after the state flower of Maryland) and it is a very different cocktail from the Preakness, but one that definitely holds its own. I’ll cover that recipe in another post, but for now, here’s how to make the Preakness cocktail:

2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Dash of Benedictine
Dash of Angostura bitters
Lemon peel

The Ingredients

This drink is technically supposed to be made in a cocktail glass, but I like mine built in a low ball. Fill a low ball glass with ice. Pour in the ingredients in the order given above and stir gently. Cut the lemon peel and drop it in the drink.

The Preakness

I enjoyed this cocktail while my wife and I watched the new episode of Mad Men the other night. I could just see the people of that era (and those before them) attending the races at Pimlico and having this cocktail. The Preakness was definitely the right drink for the occasion…especially with this awesome glass that I used. We just got these low balls from a friend of my mother-in-law who has had them since the 60’s! You’ll definitely being seeing more of these sweet retro glasses on this blog as we dive further into the world of cocktails. Enjoy your Preakness and go watch Seabiscuit!

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One Response to “The Preakness”

  1. [...] back in full action with this cocktail creation of mine (a variation on the proportions of the Preakness) that can rival any classic low ball drink on the rocks. I’d suggest sticking with the [...]