Black Jockeys Spotlighted by Preakness-Inspired Whiskey Cocktail

Black horse race jockeys, like Issac Murphy
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Photo: Wikimedia commons

Black horse race jockeys, like Issac Murphy, are being remembered as we near the 146th anniversary of the Preakness Stakes.

Magdalena, a Maryland Bistro at The Ivy Hotel announces its cocktail collaboration with premium whiskey maker and storied brand, Uncle Nearest. “Laws and Lilies,” is an infield-inspired cocktail, created to honor the contributions of Black jockeys in the early days of American horse racing. The cocktail was expertly crafted by The Ivy Hotel’s Director of Food & Beverage, Emmanuel S. West, Jr., featuring Uncle Nearest’s 1856 Premium Whiskey expression.

Uncle Nearest’s mission of reclaiming the story of the best whiskey maker the world never knew: Nathan ‘Nearest’ Green, lends strongly to rediscovering the relevance of Black jockeys. The cocktail is intended to spark conversations that will progressively overcome the erasure of these overlooked and unknown trailblazers within American sport and foodways.

“Collaborating with Nearest Green’s great-great-granddaughter and the brand’s 1884 Master Blender, Ms. Victoria Eady Butler, is one of the most exciting opportunities of my career,” says Mr. West. “Together we’re encouraging everyone to revisit a portion of history that has been excluded both in the whiskey and horse racing communities.”

Magdalena and Uncle Nearest challenge audiences to understand the full, rich and diverse history of the 146-year-old Preakness Stakes, a Baltimore tradition. The cocktail’s name, “Laws and Lilies” asks a simple question: “What’s in a name?”

Let us remember the names of Black athletes that inspired this cocktail: George “Spider” Anderson, the first Black jockey to win the Preakness in 1889, the same year the historic Gilford-Painter mansion, now The Ivy Hotel, was constructed; Isaac Murphy, three-time Kentucky Derby champion and two-time Belmont Stakes winner; Willie Simms, two-time Kentucky Derby and one-time Preakness Stakes winner.

“Laws and Lilies” highlights Uncle Nearest’s 1856 Premium Whiskey by combining it with a Rare Tea Cellars Earl Grey and Mint Meritage tea syrup, Ramazzotti Aperitivo Rosato, hibiscus flower and orange peel. The elevated in-field cocktail is equally refreshing and whiskey forward.

The cocktail debuted on Magdalena’s menu on Saturday May 1, kicking off the Triple Crown horse racing season, and will remain a special menu item through the Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Whiskey fans everywhere are invited to join Magdalena’s Instagram channel for a live cocktail demo and chat with Ms. Butler and Mr. West on Thursday, May 13 at 4pm EST. She and Mr. West will discuss the Laws and Lilies cocktail recipe and its story.

Magdalena, a Maryland Bistro, accepts reservations via OpenTable in its five dining areas including its blossoming outdoor Courtyard. The restaurant maintains social distancing protocol in line with state and city mandates, and operates Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 9pm.

Check here for more information about Magdalena, a Maryland Bistro.

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