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Friday, June 8, 2012

Vintage Happy Hour with Jenny Q: The Belmont Breeze



Today we're rounding out our Triple Crown cocktail posts with the Belmont Breeze, official drink of the Belmont Stakes. But the Belmont Breeze hasn't always been the official beverage. Originally, bartenders at the track whipped up White Carnations for thirsty race viewers. The cocktail was named in honor of the blanket of carnations Belmont Stakes winners receive in the winner's circle. But it's a bit of an old-fashioned cocktail, and in 1998 track officials began marketing to a younger crowd and a new cocktail was created: The Belmont Breeze.


The Belmont Breeze was created  in 1998 by famous New York mixologist Dale DeGroff, and is based on a traditional whiskey punch recipe dating back to colonial times. Pictured at right and described below is the original Belmont Breeze as created by DeGroff:

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 (or sweet & sour mix)
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 fruit.

But this year's recipe is a bit different. It's been simplified to three ingredients with Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of the Belmont Stakes, as its main ingredient, along with lemonade and pomegranate juice. Click the pic for the new official recipe and for more Belmont Stakes history and traditions!

The first Belmont Stakes was held in 1866, and Belmont Park became the official home of the race in 1905. The 430-acre racing complex in Elmont, New York, on Long Island just outside New York City, would have been the place to be for the characters of our vintage release, When A Man MarriesKit McNair and her high-living New York society friends would have flocked to the park each June for a weekend of drinking, gambling, and flirting. And they wouldn't have known in 1910, the year When A Man Marries was published, that they wouldn't get to see the race again for three years. When anti-gambling legislation was passed in New York State, the racetrack closed, and the race was cancelled in 1911 and 1912.

And we have our own disappointment this year, as the favorite to win the first Triple Crown title in 34 years, I'll Have Another, was not only pulled from race contention today, but retired from racing altogether due to tendonitis. I come from a horse-loving family, and we were all disappointed to hear that news today. But, in I'll Have Another's honor, we'll continue with our Belmont Stakes party plans, and honor him by having our party and another round of Belmont Breezes. Salut!


When A Man Marries by Mary Roberts Rinehart
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