A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 07, 2008
White Carnation (former official drink of the Belmont Stakes)

The White Carnation (vodka, peach schnapps, and orange juice) was the official drink of the Belmont Stakes from the 1980s until 1997, when it was replaced by the Belmont Breeze. The carnation is the official flower of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of racing’s triple crown that takes place each June in Belmont Park.

The White Carnation hasn’t been missed by many; a 2005 article below calls it “the nigh undrinkable white carnation.” In the 2000s, the Belmont Stakes began to be called the “Run for the Carnations.”

A drink called “Big Apple” briefly preceded White Carnation as the official drink in 1976. The Belmont Breeze (White Carnation’s successor in 1997, made of bourbon, sherry, simple syrup, lime juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, 7-Up, and club soda) was replaced as the official drink in 2011 by the “Belmont Jewel” (bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice).

A little-known cocktail called the “Belmont Park” (Bacardi rum, port, one egg and a teaspoonful of powdered sugar) apparently existed in the 1920s and might have been the first cocktail of the Belmont racetrack (although not necessarily of the Belmont Stakes race).

Wikipedia: Belmont Stakes
The Belmont Stakes is an American Grade I stakes Thoroughbred horse race held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. It is a 1.5-mile-long (2.4 km) horse race, open to three-year-old Thoroughbreds. Colts and geldings carry a weight of 126 pounds (57 kg); fillies carry 121 pounds (55 kg). The race, nicknamed The Test of the Champion, is the third and final leg of the Triple Crown and is held five weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks after the Preakness Stakes, on a Saturday between June 5 and June 11. The 1973 Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown winner Secretariat holds the mile and a half stakes record (which is also a track and world record on dirt) of 2:24.
Along with the change of song in 1997, the official drink was also changed, from the “White Carnation” to the “Belmont Breeze.” The New York Times reviewed both cocktails unfavorably, calling the Belmont Breeze “a significant improvement over the nigh undrinkable White Carnation” despite the fact that it “tastes like a refined trashcan punch.” In 2011, the Belmont Breeze was again changed to the current official drink known as the “Belmont Jewel.”

New York (NY) Times
BELMONT STAKES; Magnet for Fans and Dreams
Published: June 7, 1987
The hum of the mutuel machines, the sun on the green grass, the sales of the day’s special beverage called a white carnation (orange juice, vodka and peach schnapps) were a symbol of revival to Clem Imperato, vice president of operations for the New York Racing Association, which operates Belmont Park. For years, New York racing has been attempting to widen its circle of fans.

New York (NY) Times
BELMONT STAKES; Dismaying Moan Ends Belmont Gala
Published: June 11, 1989
At one of the track’s bars, Dave Costigan of Queens Village was selling the official drink, a Carnation, named for the race’s official flower.

‘’This crowd orders a lot of Carnations - vodka, peach schnapps and 7-Up,’’ he said.

New York (NY) Times
THE SUMMER COOK; The Appetites Are Nearing the Gate
Published: June 8, 2005
Although Belmont Park lies just outside the city limits, it is quintessentially New York. And as the newest of the homes of the three legs of the Triple Crown, it has managed to remain the least fraught with grand tradition. At Churchill Downs, in Louisville, you can be pretty sure of what’s being served in those mint-bedecked silver cups, and at Pimlico, in Baltimore, you know you will eat Maryland crab cakes and quaff black-eyed Susans.

Belmont’s few rituals do not loom so large and mint julepy. The only food associated with the track is Manhattan clam chowder, a dish peculiarly unsuited to either summertime or railside eating. And few people have heard of either of the drinks associated with the Belmont: the white carnation, a concoction calling for a splash of cream, which has an unpleasant tendency to curdle when added to the vodka, orange juice and peach schnapps; and the Belmont breeze, a fruity, sherry-laced drink invented in 1998 by Dale DeGroff, then head bartender at the Rainbow Room.

(We made these cocktails for our last trip to the track and so can say with authority that although the Belmont breeze, which tastes like a refined trashcan punch, represents a significant improvement over the nigh undrinkable white carnation, neither has much hope of achieving the status of the mint julep, their Kentucky Derby sister.)

National Bartenders Cocktail Recipes
White Carnation February 19, 2008
2 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Peach schnapps
2 oz Orange juice
Soda water
Splash of Cream
Stir and pour over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with orange slice.

Baltimore (MD) Sun—Bill Ordine blog (June 5, 2008)
Belmont party tips, or rather tippling
Traditional cocktails for big horse races are ... well, traditional. The Derby has its Mint Julep and the Preakness its Black-eyed Susan. But what about the Belmont?

Well, according to About.com, the current official drink of the third jewel of the Triple Crown is the Belmont Breeze, at least since 1998. Before that, it was the White Carnation. Here are the recipes for both from About.com. As always, enjoy responsibly.

We were reminded that the Belmont Breeze was concocted by famous New York City mixologist Dale DeGroff.

White Carnation
2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Peach Schnapps
2 oz. Orange Juice
Splash of Cream
Crushed ice
Stir liquors and soda together and pour over ice in a highball glass. Splash cream over top then garnish with an orange slice.

Newsday (Long Island, NY)
The Belmont Jewel: Belmont Stakes keeps changing its official drink
Updated June 4, 2015 10:19 PM
In the 147 years of the Elmont race, there have been several official drinks. Since 2011 it has been the Belmont Jewel.
The reason? The official drink has changed. Several times.

Before the Belmont Jewel it was the Belmont Breeze.

Before that it was the White Carnation.

And very briefly, according to the former general manager of the food and drink concession at Belmont Park until 1975, it was a drink called the Big Apple.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, June 07, 2008 • Permalink