So I didn’t do so well betting on the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago. Poorly, in fact. Damn it, I got crushed! But hey, it’s 142nd Preakness Stakes weekend and hope springs eternal. Here I go again.
I don’t think Always Dreaming will win the Triple Crown, though I hope he does, which means he has to win the Preakness next. Having a Derby & Preakness winner always makes for an exciting Belmont Stakes. As we know, the Belmont is not nearly as compelling without a Triple Crown hopeful. But I’m not putting all my jewels in one basket for May 20, 2017.
Across the board: (1) Multiplier
Exacta: (4) Always Dreaming, (7) Term Of Art
Exacta box: (5) Classic Empire, (8) Senior Investment
Trifecta: (4) Always Dreaming, (2) Cloud Computing, (3) Hence
Trifecta box: (3) Hence, (4) Always Dreaming, (5) Classic Empire
While waiting for the 6:45pm ET post time, kick back and enjoy the official Preakness cocktail, the Black-Eyed Susan. Not surprisingly, the recipe for this year’s drink has a slight twist with the addition of DeKuyper Peachtree schnapps. That’s one of the great traditions of the Black-Eyed Susan, it’s rarely the same year to year.
A returning ingredient is Maker’s Mark bourbon. About ten years ago we did a tour of their distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. A beautiful, scenic drive a little over an hour south of Louisville, Maker’s Mark tours take you through the step-by-step process for creating great bourbon while providing some company history as well as how and why Kentucky became the home of bourbon whiskey.
The tour also gives you a hands-on (hands in?) experience when you get to see the fermenting vats. Our guide asked everyone on the tour, probably 20 people, to stick a finger into the vat and taste the gurgling concoction. Some, like my girlfriend, were understandably reluctant while others quickly plunged in. Now, I had seen this happen in a documentary on the distilling process, so I knew it was coming. Then I plunged in, too.
Sounds disgusting, huh? Our guide assured us it was okay, that the entire distilling process would eliminate any impurities. Our guide told us the liquid would taste like oatmeal, but it didn’t taste like anything to me, certainly not the warming and intoxicating liquid it would become years later. But that’s an everlasting image — 20 dirty fingers swirling in that vat to get a taste of oatmeal. By now, the Maker’s Mark bourbon the contents of that vat became has long been consumed. I am honored to have been a part of it.
The important part came at the end of the tour. We got to dip our own bottles of Maker’s Mark in the signature red wax! After a quick demonstration I plunged in again, dipping the top of the bottle in the wax and watching it dribble down the sides, forming a “perfect” seal. After noting the date on the bottle I saved it for a few years before it, too, was consumed for a very special occasion.
I’ve toured other distilleries since then, but Maker’s was the first and certainly the most interactive. And now I always have a little Maker’s Mark on hand. If you have an opportunity to visit, and I highly recommend you do, enjoy the oatmeal!
Good luck on Preakness Day!
See you next time.