The third, and last, leg of thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown is this Saturday’s 147th Belmont Stakes. The Belmont Stakes, held at Belmont Park in Elmont, traditionally draws the largest attendance of any thoroughbred racing event in our country. With American Pharoah poised to do what no horse has done since Affirmed in 1978, win the Triple Crown, this Saturday’s event promises to be colossal.
Each leg of the Triple Crown has its own tipple. For over a century, the genteel Southern crowds at the Kentucky Derby have been quenching their thirsts with the time-tested mint julep, featuring the home state’s pride and joy, bourbon. The official drink of the Triple Crown’s second leg, the Preakness in Baltimore, is the black-eyed Susan, a citrusy vodka cocktail. The official cocktail of our locally hosted third leg of the Crown is not as time-honored as its predecessors. For many years, the White Carnation was the official drink of the Stakes. The cocktail (vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice and a hint of cream) took its name from the white carnations that make up the blanket that is draped over the winner of the stakes. In 1998, mixologist Dale DeGroff put a whiskey and cranberry spin on the cocktail and it was renamed the Belmont Breeze. A tasty and sophisticated cocktail, the Belmont Breeze proved to be too involved to mass produce for a thirsty madding crowd. Enter mixologist Drew Revella and the team of Centerplate, the company that has catered presidential inaugural balls, Olympics, Super Bowls and now, the Belmont Stakes. In 2012, Revella created the Belmont Jewel, a refreshingly straightforward cocktail that is decidedly easier to whip up and serve to scores of parched horse racing spectators. With three ingredients, bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice, the jewel in this year’s Triple Crown might just be the Belmont Jewel.
The Belmont Jewel
1.5 ounces bourbon (Belmont Park serves Knob Creek Bourbon)
2 ounces lemonade
1 ounce pomegranate juice
Shake vigorously with ice and serve in a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon twist or red cherry.