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 15, 2015
Big Apple (former official drink of the Belmont Stakes)

A drink called “Big Apple” was very briefly the official drink of the Belmont Stakes in 1976. Frank Tynan, general manager of Belmont Park concessions for the Harry M. Stevens Company, told the New York (NY) Times of June 8, 1975 that Belmont was working on an official drink to be called the “Big Apple.”  “Fruit juice, an apple liqueur and rum, I think,” Tynan told Newsday in 2015 about the original “Big Apple” cocktail.
“White Carnation” (vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, soda, and a splash of cream) became the official drink of the Belmont Stakes in the 1980s, replaced by “Belmont Breeze” (bourbon, sherry, simple syrup, lime juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, 7-Up, and club soda) in 1997, and replaced again by “Belmont Jewel” (bourbon, lemonade and pomegranate juice) in 2011.
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.”
8 June 1975, New York (NY) Times, “Winning Day for 60,321,” sec. 5, pg. 3, col. 4:
“We’re working on a Belmont Stakes drink,” said Tynan (Frank Tynan, general manager of concessions—ed.), “but we won’t have it until next year.”
When the Belmont does get its drink, to go with the mint julep of the Kentucky Derby and the black-eyed susan of the Preakness, it may be called the Big Apple. Top brains are debating how much apple brandy the potion should contain.
Newsday (Long Island, NY)
The Belmont Jewel: Belmont Stakes keeps changing its official drink
Updated June 4, 2015 10:19 PM
By RIDGELY OCHS .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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.
But in 1975, Tynan was quoted in a New York Times article as saying that Belmont was working on developing an official drink for the next year that would be called the Big Apple. Tynan, 81 and now living in Saratoga Springs, said he retired that year. But he still has a commemorative Big Apple glass from 1976. “I’m pretty sure they used it for one year at least,” he said.
He can’t quite remember what was in the drink. “Fruit juice, an apple liqueur and rum, I think,” he said.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Monday, June 15, 2015 • Permalink

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