If you ask a Baltimoron (yes, the real term is Baltimorean, I just like it better this way) about our biggest party of the year, they will rightfully and righteously tell you it is the Preakness Race.
The Preakness is the second leg of the Triple Crown, which begins with the refined and classy affair that is known as the Kentucky Derby. By the time the race moves on to Baltimore, we like to turn it around, get it drunk and show it a good time.
Last May was the first time in many years that my husband and I did not attend the Preakness race, and so instead we decided have a small dinner party to celebrate. In putting together my menu, I knew that I wanted to serve the signature cocktail of the Preakness: the Black Eyed Susan. I wanted to put my own twist on it and since I love sangria-type drinks, I decided to make them in a big pitcher filled with fruit and call it Black Eyed Susangria, even though it didn’t include any wine.
We invited two other couples over for dinner and from the start, as per usual, the cocktails flowed freely. Now, the wife of one of the couples, who for anonymity’s sake, we will call, um, Lemissa, is not much of a drinker. However, as her husband will claim, I am a bad influence on Lemissa, and she has a tendency to get in trouble in my company. He is right - not that I will ever admit that directly to him.
As evening progressed and the Susangria did its damage, Lemissa’s sobriety started to become severely compromised. The next thing I knew, she was feeding our big Yellow Lab, Baxter, the delicious barbecued chicken my husband had just made. Now, our dog is a total food hound and is also quite cute, so many people feed him food from the table. The difference is that generally it is not directly from their mouth. Oh yes, Lemissa was doing her Alicia Silverstone Mama Bird routine…with my dog. At that point I knew we were in trouble.
Before we had a chance to react (and let’s face it, a perfectly sane woman drunkenly feeding a dog directly from her mouth is not something I rush to put a stop to. That shit is FUNNY.), Lemissa had her cocktail glass of Susangria tilted over the big torch candle I had lit on our deck table.
Her husband, very nervously, and through clenched teeth said, “What.Are.You.Doing?” To which Lemissa responded, “I’ma tryinta light thiz shizz on FYAH!” For as long as I live, I will never, ever forget the glint of mischief in her eye in that moment.
This Saturday, May 19, is this year’s Preakness, and so I would like to share my recipe for Black Eyed Susangria for you, and the Lemissas in your life, to enjoy. My dog suggests you serve it with chicken.
Black Eyed SusangriaMakes 10 large drinks
1 1/4 cup vodka
1 1/4 cup light rum
3/4 cup triple sec
4 cups orange juice
3 cups pineapple juice
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
Fresh Pineapple Chunks
Mango Chunks (I use frozen)
Combine all ingredients into a large pitcher. Served chilled, in Preakness glasses if you have them.