The Black Eyed Susan:
Finally, with a bit of delay, I was determined that this week we would try the drink of the Preakness, the Black Eyed Susan, which is named for the state flower of Maryland that is used to wreath the winning horse in this Tripple Crown race at Pimleco, in Baltimore. Since the race occurred on May 21st, we can tell you that the winner was Shackleford, holding off Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom by a half-length at the finish.
I remember trying a Black Eyed Susan when I was in Baltimore the week of the Preakness a few years ago, when I was working on a hospital my old firm had designed there. I was very curious to try the recipe because I remember the drink having a rather unusual gingery flavor. I had heard that there are a number of recipes, and I was curious as to what exactly was the real thing. Now, the recipe on the official Preakness website calls for sour mix, and I knew that a 136 year old race would not have originally been associated with such a modern thing, so I looked up other recipes as well. Many of the recipes I found were for a batch of the drink, like a punch, rather than a single serving. One called for whiskey, like the Preakness website, but the others called for rum. About.com had the most interesting information, where it listed the current official drink recipe, but then said, "The original called for equal parts of Cointreau, Mount Gay rum, and Vodka topped off with orange and pineapple juice, and garnished with a lime wedge." This was the information I used to help me sort through the recipes to try to narrow it down to the most classic, single serving recipe. Many of the recipes had equal parts pineapple and orange juice, but there was a much smaller amount of lime in the large batches, and it didn't appear at all in some recipes. Also, some recipes had equal parts of the different spirits and others had more rum or whiskey and less orange liqueur. I used the quote above to settle on the final recipe.
The Black Eyed Susan
1 oz Vodka
1 oz Rum
1 oz Orange liqueur
1 Lime wedge
2 oz Orange juice
2 oz Pineapple juice
Add vodka, rum, and orange liqueur to a tall glass. Squeeze lime wedge into the glass and drop it in. Fill with ice. Top with equal parts orange and pineapple juice.
I've never had Mount Gay rum, but many of the recipes call for light rum, and I believe that should be what is used, but my choices were dark rum, white rum, or spiced rum, so I decided that the dark rum would likely have the closest flavor profile. Mount Gay rum has an interesting history, as it is the oldest documented rum distillery, with a deed from 1703. Apparently, being from Barbados gives it an unusual flavor profile as well, which I am interested to try -- whenever our stash of rum finally gets low.
I mixed equal parts of orange and pineapple juice in a measuring cup, and I only used 1/2 cup to top off each glass, which is how I came up with the 1/4 cup measurement. If you use a larger glass or a bit less ice, you may want more juice.
I like this drink. It is cool, fruity, and refreshing, but you can still taste the flavor of the rum, and something about the combination of ingredients does bring out a somewhat gingery flavor, though there is no ginger in the drink.
I was originally only planning to make The Black Eyed Susan, but Scott particularly wanted Mojitos. We could have simply done Mojitos instead, if I hadn't felt like the Black Eyed Susan kept being put off, and I kept telling people we were about to do it. Once we found out that we were going to have four guests, we realized that we didn't have enough pineapple juice, and Scott ever so sweetly ran up to the store to get some, just so that I could stop feeling like I was failing with the Black Eyed Susan, even though he didn't even drink one. He just wanted a Mojito.
As I mentioned before, on the Mint Julep post, I use Mondomuse's recipe to make Mojitos.
1 Tbsp Sugar
6 - 8 Fresh spearmint leaves; medium size
1/2 Fresh lime cut in quarters
2 oz White rum - 80 proof
Place the sugar and mint leaves at the bottom of a tall tumbler. Crush the mint into the sugar using a muddler or the back of a spoon. For a dirty Mojito, muddle well so that the pieces of mint are very small. Add the simple syrup; stir well. Squeeze lime quarters into glass; drop the limes into the mix. At this point I mix well, pushing down on the lime with a spoon, extracting more juice and some of the oil in the rind. Add white rum mixing well again. Fill glass to the rim with ice; top off with club soda to the brim. Stir well; garnish with fresh sprig of mint if you like; serve immediately.
The verdict: This is a tasty recipe, but there is a lot of sugar in this drink. It was too much for our diabetic friend. It is also very important that you mix it at all of the different stages, which I forgot to tell Scott to do as he was making these and I was making the Black Eyed Susans. Everyone made it abundantly clear that a thorough mixing vastly improved the flavor. Now that I look at Mondomuse's recipe again, I see that he actually makes a light simple syrup -- only 1/2 as much sugar as water, where I am used to normal simple syrup being 1 to 1, and I have also heard of rich simple syrup at 2 to 1. Scott tried reducing the syrup, but said that it impacted the mouthfeel. Still, I think that a normal 1 to 1 syrup should use only 1 oz, which is why I edited the recipe above. Also, it is important to use the granulated sugar because it helps to grind the mint up a bit more. Just be sure to mix it well so that it dissolves into the drink afterwards.