Triple Crown Cocktails You May Not Be Familiar With

Everybody knows about mint juleps and the Kentucky Derby. Just as beer is to the Super Bowl and eggnog is to Christmas, the mint julep is the one drink you absolutely must have in order to celebrate Derby Day in style. As Cocktails for You tells it, this simple drink may have been around since the late 18th century, but it's been a Churchill Downs staple since 1938. At that year's Kentucky Derby you could have watched the great Lawrin bring home a win (yeah, we can't remember him, either). Plus, you could have brought home a souvenir yourself: a commemorative glass could have been yours for the low, low price of 38 cents (via Kentucky Derby). 

Anyway, whether you love juleps or loathe them, they're actually not your only option for a Triple Crown-themed cocktail. Both the Preakness and the Belmont have their own signature drinks as well, each with a more complex (and tastier) flavor profile than the basic bourbon/sugar/mint mix that makes up a mint julep.

The Black-Eyed Susan is refreshingly fruity

The Preakness Stakes, second jewel in the Triple Crown, is run at Pimlico racetrack in Baltimore, where instead of roses, you're likely to see Maryland's state flower, the black-eyed Susan (via Pimlico). This wildflower (which is totally not a weed, unless you want to pick a fight with the entire population of the feisty Old Line state) also lends its name to the race's official cocktail. The Black-Eyed Susan drink dates back to 1973 — a good year for the Preakness, as it was won by a horse named Secretariat, per History. That iconic horse had also won the Derby and went on to win the Belmont and generally became known as one of the all-time greatest athletes of any species.

To make a Black-Eyed Susan, The Spruce Eats says you'll combine an ounce of bourbon, an ounce of vodka, an ounce of peach schnapps, and two ounces each of orange juice and sour mix in a cocktail shaker. Strain the drink into a glass of crushed ice, then garnish it with a slice of orange and a cherry or other seasonal fruit of your choosing.

The Belmont Stakes has had several signature drinks

The Belmont Stakes is the third and final Triple Crown race, held at Belmont Park in New York (via Belmont Stakes). The first official drink associated with the Belmont was the White Carnation, something The Spruce Eats says is made with vodka, orange juice, soda water, peach schnapps, and a splash of cream. In 1998, this drink was replaced by the more complex Belmont Breeze, per The Spruce Eats, a concoction of bourbon or rye mixed with sherry, lemon juice, and simple syrup and finished off with splashes of orange and cranberry juices and a few fresh mint leaves (shaken, not muddled).

The simpler, less boozy Belmont Jewel cocktail came onto the scene in 2011 (via Food Network). To make the drink, you mix bourbon with lemonade and an ounce of pomegranate juice, then shake it up and strain it into a rocks glass over a few ice cubes and garnish with a slice of lemon, a twist of orange peel, and/or a cherry. This makes for a quick, easy drink that won't get you hammered by post time.