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Black Eyed Susan Cocktail Recipe – A Celebration Cocktail

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The Black Eyed Susan is a beautiful and very potent cocktail, associated with the Preakness Stakes and its actual officially recognized cocktail. Despite that, there are many recipes and variations on this drink. I’m going to talk about the version I know. 

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black eyed susan

What is Black Eyed Susan ?

The Black Eyed Susan is more than just a pretty flower, it’s actually tied to the Preakness Stakes in Maryland. It became a drink associated with this thoroughbred horse race, because whichever horse won would get a garland of black eyed Susans (Maryland’s state flower). 

So the cocktail had its name and it became very popular among those who attended the race, and later their friends. Essentially, the Black Eyed Susan is a mix of three spirits, orange juice, and pineapple juice, with a Maraschino cherry as the ‘black eye’. However the actual recipe for this cocktail varies wildly depending on who makes it and where. The only constants are the OJ, pineapple juice, and the vodka, with the variations being bourbon, St. Germain, peach schanpps, gin. 

The version I know features vodka, light rum, triple sec, orange juice, and pineapple juice. It reminds me a lot of Long Island Iced Tea in that it’s far stronger than it looks and it will get you drunk very quick. 

black eyed susan 2

Black Eyed Susan Cocktail Recipe

Ioana Ciuraru
A lesser known fruity cocktail, like a half-sibling of the LIIT.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Total Time 3 minutes
Servings 1


  • 1 oz vodka
  • 1 oz light rum
  • 0.75 oz triple sec
  • 1.5 oz orange juice
  • 1.5 oz pineapple juice


  • Build in ice-filled highball glass.


This is a very strong cocktail with a lot of punch and a lot of fruit to hide it. Drink this in moderation since it can and will mess you up.

When is this drink best ?

The Black Eyed Susan is a great summer cocktail, and it’s even better when you’re looking to get hammered quick. So if it’s a party, an open bar at a gathering, a beach bar, or just your backyard I think this drink will do well. 

That being said, I don’t think you should be having more than one of these since it features three spirits and just two mixers; it’s very strong, but very sweet and it might not be easy tp pace yourself. 

My thoughts on Black Eyed Susan

I liked the Black Eyed Susan, as much as I loved Long Island Iced Tea. I think it’s sweet, very fruity, and its combination of spirits goes well together – the vodka is plain, the light rum has a bit of flavor but isn’t overwhelming, and the triple sec adds flavor and a nice burn at the end. 

I think the orange juice really elevates the whole drink. It brings acidity and a fresh fruit flavor that canned OJ just doesn’t. Even if you use canned pineapple juice, it will still come out fine, as long as you have the added zing of fresh orange juice (even if it’s not the sweetest).

I did not have any sort of Maraschino cherries available or even to order, not even the overly sweet bright red ones. If you do have some on hand, just one cherry on a metal pick, and a orange slice are all you need for the garnish.

black eyed susan making

If you like Black Eyed Susan, you might also like…

Long Island Iced Tea – a wild mix of spirits meant to feign iced tea

Painkiller – a fruitier spin on the Pina Colada

Mai Tai – a very flavorful and strong spirit mix

Brass Monkey – a Screwdriver with added dark rum

Notes, substitutes, and tips

The recipe for Black Eyed Susan varies quite a bit, so feel free to substitute some of the spirits if you like. For example I used white rum, which is subtle, but if you want a funkier flavor to go with the pineapple dark rum is a great choice. 

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