Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Belmont Jewel

So the Triple Crown season winds up today with the 145th Belmont Stakes, my favorite of the Triple Crown races (being a native New Yorker), even when there is no Triple Crown on the line.  Like the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, The Belmont has it's own signature cocktail.  In fact there have been several.

The first was the White Carnation, a fitting drink considering the winner is draped with a blanket of carnations, like the blanket of roses for the Derby winner or the blanket of Black Eyed Susans for the Preakness winner - though for the Preakness they are really yellow daisies painted with black in the middle since Black Eyed Susans don't bloom this early in the year.  The White Carnation was the official drink until 1998.

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz peach schnapps
  • 2 oz. orange juice
  • soda water
  • splash of cream

Stir and pour over ice in a highball glass. Can garnish with an orange slice.

I'm not big into drinks with milk or cream so this would not be my first choice for a cocktail today.  

The White Carnation was replaced by the Belmont Breeze.  While it is certainly a refreshing drink on a hot June Saturday, it seems to me a bit overly complicated.  

  • 1 1/2 ounces of a good American blended whiskey
  • 3/4 ounces Harveys Bristol Cream Sherry
  • 1/2 ounce of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce of simple syrup
  • (1 ounce of sweet and sour mix may be substituted for the lemon juice and simple syrup)
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ounce 7-Up
  • 1 ounce Club Soda

Shake first six ingredients with ice, then top with 7-Up and club soda. Garnish with mint sprig and lemon wedge.

It just doesn't seem as classic and timeless as a Mint Julep on Derby Day.  Which brings us to the current drink of Belmont Stakes - The Belmont Jewel.  

  • 1.5 oz Woodford Reserve Kentucky Bourbon
  • 2 oz lemonade
  • 1 oz pomegranate juice

Shake vigorously with ice and serve on the rocks. Garnish with maraschino cherry or lemon twist.

The official recipe calls for Woodford Reserve, a fine bourbon, but I am sure that is strictly for promotional purposes.  I made myself one of these bad boys for Belmont Eve and it is definitely an interesting drink.  I used Jim Beam rather than Woodford and used 2 oz instead of 1.5 ounces.  Using whiskey gives this drink some heft and the pomegranate juice adds some nice bite, though I did find it to overpower the drink a bit, even with the little bit of extra whiskey.  The lemonade was just lost, I thought, in the whole mix.  Overall a nice drink, not too fruity, even with lemonade and pomegranate juice.  Definitely worth a remix here soon La Cucina Castano.  

Enjoy the race, or whatever you do this weekend.  As always, relax, have fun and enjoy a well made cocktail.


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