What Is A Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail? Say Hello To This Summery Drink

It’s been dubbed the official cocktail of Maryland’s Preakness Stakes.

Summertime can get you in the mood to shake up your normal routine, and that includes shaking up new, exciting, refreshing cocktails that feel fitting for the season. There are sunset porch hangs, beach days, lakeside sits, and quality-time cookouts to be had, which provide many perfect opportunities to dust off your bartending skills and keep the house cocktails coming. While you can never, ever go wrong with an ice-cold, fizzy Texas Ranch Water, we've got another Southern sipper that you'll love for summer. Say hello to the Black-Eyed Susan.

Sunny in color, fruity in flavor, and packed with a stiff punch, this drink has been hailed by many as Maryland's signature cocktail. It's also been the official drink of the Preakness Stakes for decades. While recipes vary, a basic Black-Eyed Susan typically calls for two different types of fruit juices (pineapple and orange), orange liqueur, and a substitute-friendly list of liquors, including vodka and rum. Yep, more than one type of liquor. It's then garnished with an orange slice and bright red maraschino cherry. Basically, it's hard not to be happy when looking at this colorful, fruity, sweet cocktail.

Black-Eyed Susan Cocktail
Getty Images/Matthew Stockman / Staff

Though the name might evoke unsavory notions upon first glance, it's actually titled after the pretty yellow flower by the same name, which happens to be Maryland's state flower and is used to make the celebratory blanket that's draped over the winning horse at the Preakness Stakes. For those who don't know, the Preakness Stakes is a high-profile horse race held every May in Baltimore, Maryland. Fun fact: All three Triple Crown races (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes) have their own signature cocktail. What the Mint Julep is for the Kentucky Derby, the Black-Eyed Susan is for the Preakness Stakes.

This drink has many moving parts, but can be easily whipped up at home using this simple ratio recipe. Combine the following ingredients.

1/2 cup of orange juice
1/2 cup of pineapple juice
1 shot of vodka
1 shot of light rum
1/2 shot of orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau

Fresh-squeezed orange juice is preferred, but not required. Finish with lots of ice, preferably crushed. (For that, all you need is a gallon Ziploc bag and a rolling pin.) Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry. Some recipes also call for bourbon or rye whiskey, which you can switch in for the rum or vodka. You can also add more fruit juice or top it with seltzer water to make it slightly less boozy. For a non-alcoholic version that will cool off the whole family, follow our recipe for Black-Eyed Susan Slushies.

This summer, get the good times flowing with a celebratory Black-Eyed Susan. Hint: It's also great for turning into a make-ahead, big-batch pitcher. You're welcome.

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