Jun 7, 2012
08:17 AM
Weekender

That's the spirit

That's the spirit

I grew up, like many girls, as a full-blown horse lover. I spent all of my spare time in junior high tending to and riding my first horse, a little black quarter horse named Skipper.

And some of you may know that my beloved thoroughbred Bob passed away last fall at the ripe young age of 33 (quite a feat for a horse). I spent all of my teenage years showing Bob on the hunter/jumper circuit and after I went off to college he spent many years as a school horse for younger children learning how to ride. Bob actually got his start on the racetrack (which is where we bought him), but despite his excellent lineage (his grandfather was the 1948 Triple Crown winner Citation), his career as a racehorse never left the gate.

Even so, I have always been an avid race fan – the Kentucky Derby is on my bucket list and I was lucky to go to the Belmont Stakes three years in a row while living in New York. I look forward every year to the Triple Crown, and especially to the possibility of a Triple Crown winner. I have waited patiently, as has every other race fan, since Affirmed and Alydar battled it out in 1978.

I’ll Have Another is racing this Saturday, hopefully to history, and while he is, I plan to have another … another drink, that is. In honor of the big chestnut colt, I’m sharing some of my favorite New York-inspired cocktails. Sip one during the race and then have another to celebrate his big win, or drown your sorrows until next year’s Derby.

Belmont Breeze

Makes 1

Dale DeGroff, master mixologist, developed his extraordinary techniques and talent tending bar at great establishments, most notably New York's famous Rainbow Room, where he pioneered a gourmet approach to recreating the great classic cocktails. DeGroff has been credited with reinventing the bartending profession in the late 80s, setting off a cocktail explosion that continues to this day. He created the official drink of the Belmont, the Belmont Breeze, which is based on an old Colonial recipe for whiskey punch.

  • ½ ounces blended whiskey
  • ¾ ounce Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry
  • 1 ½ ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ½ ounces fresh orange juice
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup or 1 teaspoon superfine sugar
  • Splash of lemon lime soda
  • Splash of club soda
  • 1  strawberry
  • 1  lemon slice
  • 1  mint sprig

1.  Shake all liquid ingredients except the club soda and lemon lime soda vigorously with ice. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.

2.  Top with the club soda and lemon lime soda, and stir. Garnish with the lemon slice, mint sprig, and strawberry.

The White Carnation

Makes 1

This drink, the former official Belmont cocktail, is named for the traditional blanket of between 300 and 400 white carnations that drapes the champion in the winner’s circle. While the blanket takes 10 man hours to put together you can shake this up in a matter of seconds.

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz peach schnapps
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • Soda water
  • 1 splash cream

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

Long Island Iced Tea

Makes 1 cocktail

Belmont Park is located in Elmont, Queens, which also happens to be on Long Island. There are rumors that this namesake drink wasn’t even created in Long Island, but that it first surfaced in the 1920s in a community called Long Island in Kingsport, Tenn. However, most cocktail aficionados agree that sometime around 1976, Robert "Rosebud" Butt, a bartender at the Oak Beach Inn of Hampton Bays, Long Island, concocted a drink from equal parts vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and triple sec, plus some cola to give it a tea like color. Regardless of the inventor, popularity of the drink spread quickly – by the mid-1980s, the Long Island Iced Tea was a mainstay at most American bars.

  • 1  part Vodka
  • 1  part Tequila
  • 1  part Rum
  • 1  part Gin
  • 1  part Triple sec
  • 1 ½ part Sour mix
  • 1  splash Coca-Cola

Mix ingredients together over ice in a glass. Pour into shaker and give one brisk shake. Pour back into glass and make sure there is a touch of fizz at the top. Garnish with lemon.

Manhattan

Makes 1 cocktail

Similar in color to the big chestnut colt, I’ll Have Another, this classic cocktail is the perfect toast to New York state, where the Belmont Stakes is held.

  • 2 ½ ounces bourbon or rye
  • ½ ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2  dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish

Shake bourbon, vermouth, and bitters over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with cherry.

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