For those who don’t follow horse racing as closely as I do, the Belmont Stakes is this weekend! Continuing my series on drinks specific to the three Triple Crown races, today I’m sharing with you the “Belmont Jewel” – the official drink of the Belmont Stakes (recipe below). The name is a reference to Belmont being the 3rd jewel in the Triple crown.
The Belmont Jewel is made with Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of Belmont Park. However, Belmont has changed their drink over the years. In 1975 it was “The Big Apple” which was made with rum, apple liquor, and some sort of fruit juice. It only lasted a year or two before it was changed to “The White Carnation”, which was a combination of vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, soda water, and cream. It was created with the thought of the blanket of white carnations put on the winner. It was not well received by the patrons. How long it lasted seems to be lost in history. In 1997, head bartender of the Rainbow Room, Dale DeGroff, invented the “Belmont Breeze.” Believing that a track drink should be whiskey-based, he made what he called “an old-fashioned whiskey punch, which has mint as a garnish.” It was made from Bourbon or Rye, sherry, orange juice, pimento bitters, fresh mint and orange zest.
That brings us to 2015 and the Belmont Jewel. As part of a modernizing effort, they wanted to have a drink that was bourbon-based, easy to make at home, and in large quantity at the track. They needed a drink that was more “fan friendly” and this was it.
Having been to the Belmont to see American Pharoah win the Triple Crown, I can attest to the fact the crowd was lined up to buy the Belmont Jewel and everyone seemed to be enjoying it. I will only admit to having more than one.
Here’s the recipe:
1.4 oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
2 oz. Lemonade
1 oz. Pomegranate Juice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously with ice. Serve in a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with an lemon twist.
Let’s all toast the last Jewel in the Triple Crown and the start of summer with a Belmont Jewel!