Preakness Cocktail Drink

Preakness

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
A shot of Andrea Ottaiano looking to the camera and offering a cocktail glass.
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano
4 from 1 vote
When only the best drink will do, turn to the Preakness Drink recipe. Simple to make with the finest ingredients, this cocktail promises a taste like no other.

Preakness Drink Recipe

Step up your cocktail game with the Preakness Cocktail recipe! The enticing blend of bourbon, Benedictine, and sweet vermouth ensures every sip is memorable.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

246 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet Vermouth
  • ½ oz Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Lemon twist, for garnish, optional
  • Cherry, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon
  • Mixing Glass

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Chill your cocktail glass stirring some ice cubes.
  • Mix Ingredients: In the mixing glass, combine 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters, ½ oz Benedictine, 1 oz sweet Vermouth, and 2 oz Bourbon.
  • Stir Gently: Using a bar spoon, stir the ingredients well together with ice cubes.
  • Strain: Strain the mixture into your empty and chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish: Add a lemon twist and cherry for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: When I'm out of bourbon, rye whiskey makes a great substitute, offering a slightly spicier kick.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Just as I've done with the Negroni, dry vermouth can step in, but consider adding a splash of simple syrup to maintain the cocktail's sweetness.
  • Benedictine: If Benedictine isn't on hand, I've used other herbal liqueurs like Chartreuse or Drambuie. The taste profile shifts, but the result is still delightful.
  • Angostura Bitters: Orange bitters or Peychaud's bitters can be used, though it slightly alters the drink's flavor.

Making a Pitcher of Preakness Cocktail:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher for 8 servings, use 16 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of sweet vermouth, 4 oz of Benedictine, and 16 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, blend the bourbon, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters. Add some ice and stir thoroughly.
  • Serve: Strain and pour into individual chilled cocktail glasses, garnish each with a lemon twist and cherry, and serve promptly.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic bourbon alternative available in the market to replicate the rich flavor of bourbon.
  • Benedictine Substitute: Use an herbal tea syrup with chamomile, lemon, and honey.
  • Vermouth and Angostura Bitters: luckily there are non-alcoholic options that will mimic the flavor. 
  • Continue As Usual: Replace alcoholic ingredients with these alternatives and follow the original recipe steps for a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Cherry Garnish: Some maraschino cherries are processed with non-vegan ingredients. Use vegan-certified cherries or a fresh cherry instead to ensure your cocktail is vegan.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
246
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sodium
 
5
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
13
g
4
%
Sugar
 
9
g
10
%
Potassium
 
33
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Calcium
 
2
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%

 

Preakness Cocktail Drink

Preakness Drink Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
4 from 1 vote
Jump to Video
Step up your cocktail game with the Preakness Cocktail recipe! The enticing blend of bourbon, Benedictine, and sweet vermouth ensures every sip is memorable.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 246

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet Vermouth
  • ½ oz Benedictine
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Lemon twist - for garnish, optional
  • Cherry - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon
  • Mixing Glass

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Chill your cocktail glass stirring some ice cubes.
  • Mix Ingredients: In the mixing glass, combine 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters, ½ oz Benedictine, 1 oz sweet Vermouth, and 2 oz Bourbon.
  • Stir Gently: Using a bar spoon, stir the ingredients well together with ice cubes.
  • Strain: Strain the mixture into your empty and chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish: Add a lemon twist and cherry for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: When I'm out of bourbon, rye whiskey makes a great substitute, offering a slightly spicier kick.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Just as I've done with the Negroni, dry vermouth can step in, but consider adding a splash of simple syrup to maintain the cocktail's sweetness.
  • Benedictine: If Benedictine isn't on hand, I've used other herbal liqueurs like Chartreuse or Drambuie. The taste profile shifts, but the result is still delightful.
  • Angostura Bitters: Orange bitters or Peychaud's bitters can be used, though it slightly alters the drink's flavor.

Making a Pitcher of Preakness Cocktail:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher for 8 servings, use 16 oz of bourbon, 8 oz of sweet vermouth, 4 oz of Benedictine, and 16 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, blend the bourbon, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters. Add some ice and stir thoroughly.
  • Serve: Strain and pour into individual chilled cocktail glasses, garnish each with a lemon twist and cherry, and serve promptly.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic bourbon alternative available in the market to replicate the rich flavor of bourbon.
  • Benedictine Substitute: Use an herbal tea syrup with chamomile, lemon, and honey.
  • Vermouth and Angostura Bitters: luckily there are non-alcoholic options that will mimic the flavor. 
  • Continue As Usual: Replace alcoholic ingredients with these alternatives and follow the original recipe steps for a non-alcoholic version.

Making it Vegan:

  • Cherry Garnish: Some maraschino cherries are processed with non-vegan ingredients. Use vegan-certified cherries or a fresh cherry instead to ensure your cocktail is vegan.

What is a Preakness Drink?

Preakness Cocktail is a blend featuring bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Benedictine. Enthusiasts appreciate its balanced interplay of strong, herbal, and slightly sweet flavors. Historians trace its origin back to classic cocktail eras, a testament to its enduring appeal. The name “Preakness” might remind some of the famous horse race, but its true origin in the cocktail world remains a topic of debate. Despite its storied past, you don’t need to be a bartender extraordinaire to appreciate a Preakness Cocktail. Its legacy as a beloved drink stands firm in the cocktail community, combining tradition and taste in every glass.

A side shot of a Preakness cocktail in a cocktail glass on a white cloth placed on a brown table surrounded by five lemons, a bar spoon and a lemon twist.

What is a Preakness Drink made of – The ingredients

Prepare your Preakness making by having these ingredients ready:

  • Bourbon: The primary spirit provides the drink with its rich, oaky backbone.
  • Sweet Vermouth: A fortified wine, it introduces a touch of sweetness and aromatic complexity.
  • Benedictine: An herbal liqueur adds depth and a hint of spiciness to the cocktail.
  • Angostura Bitters: Enhances the flavors, uniting the ingredients with their aromatic qualities.
  • Lemon Twist: Used as a garnish, it contributes a citrusy aroma that complements the drink’s overall profile.
  • Cherry: Another garnish option, it offers a touch of sweetness and a visually appealing finish.

Bourbon, sweet Vermouth, Benedictine, and Angostura Bitters laid out on a white bar table

How do you make a Preakness Drink?

Join us in making a Preakness by following our simple guide:

  1. Start by chilling a cocktail glass, ensuring it’s ready to keep your drink at the optimal temperature.Cocktail glass filled with ice cubes Ice cubes stirred in cocktail glass with bar spoon
  2. Combine the Angostura Bitters, Benedictine, sweet Vermouth, and Bourbon in your mixing glass.Angostura Bitters added to the mixing glass Benedictine poured into mixing glass with jigger Sweet Vermouth poured into mixing glass with jigger Bourbon poured into mixing glass with jigger
  3. Add some ice cubes and, using a bar spoon, stir the ingredients well to blend their flavors seamlessly.Mixing glass filled with ice cubes Mixture stirred in mixing glass with bar spoon
  4. Once mixed, strain the concoction into your empty and chilled cocktail glass.Ice cubes removed from cocktail glass Mixture strained into cocktail glass
  5. Garnish the drink with a lemon twist and cherry, enhancing its visual appeal and aromatic profile.Lemon peel twisted over cocktail glass Lemon twist rubbed over the rim of the cocktail glass Lemon twist added to the glass as garnish Completed Preakness cocktail in cocktail glass

Using Gin instead of Whiskey for a Preakness Drink

Switching gin for bourbon in a Preakness Cocktail dramatically alters the drink’s flavor and overall experience. Gin brings a botanical character to the mix, highlighted by notes of juniper, coriander, and often a burst of citrus. In contrast, bourbon infuses the cocktail with rich, caramelized undertones and hints of vanilla and oak stemming from its corn base and the aging process. Additionally, the inherent sweetness of bourbon contrasts sharply with the often dry and crisp finish that gin provides. This ingredient difference also affects the cocktail’s mouthfeel: bourbon lends a fuller, more velvety texture, whereas gin offers a lighter, more refreshing touch. Consequently, a gin-based Preakness Cocktail might evoke feelings of warm days and alfresco gatherings, while its bourbon counterpart feels more attuned to cozy, indoor settings.

History and Origin of the Preakness Drink

Like many classic cocktails, the Preakness Cocktail comes with a story shrouded in mystery and debate. Some sources trace its namesake back to the Preakness Stakes, one of the three horse races forming the Triple Crown, suggesting its popularity might have surged during horse racing events. However, there isn’t concrete evidence to tie the cocktail directly to the race.

Historically, the Preakness Cocktail finds mention in bartender guides and cocktail books dating back to the early 20th century. While its precise origins remain a bit elusive, the use of its ingredients points towards classic American cocktail crafting. Bourbon and vermouth were popular components in numerous drinks of the era, and the Preakness Cocktail stands as a testament to the innovative spirit of bartenders of yesteryears.

A Preakness cocktail, shot from above, in a cocktail glass on a white marmol table surrounded by Bourbon, sweet Vermouth, Benedictine, and Angostura Bitters.

FAQs

  1. How many calories are typically in a Preakness Cocktail? A standard Preakness Cocktail usually contains approximately 180-200 calories, depending on the specific brands and proportions used.
  2. How strong is a Preakness Cocktail? The strength varies based on ingredient brands, but typically, it’s around 25-30% ABV or 50-60 proof when mixed.
  3. Which alcohol is predominantly used in a Preakness Cocktail? Bourbon is the primary spirit in a Preakness Cocktail, bringing its signature depth and warmth.
  4. In which type of glass should a Preakness Cocktail be served? It’s traditionally served in a cocktail glass.
  5. What does a Preakness Cocktail taste like? The Preakness Cocktail offers a balanced blend of strong, slightly sweet, and herbal notes, with bourbon’s richness playing a dominant role.
  6. What’s the general ratio of ingredients in a Preakness Cocktail? The common ratio is 2 parts bourbon, 1 part sweet vermouth, 0.5 parts Benedictine, with a dash of Angostura bitters.
  7. How is the Preakness Cocktail typically served in terms of ice? It’s usually served “up,” which means it’s shaken or stirred with ice and then strained into a glass without ice.

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