5 Backyard Baseball Cocktails

By: 
A.J. Rathbun
The Enchanted Field cocktail. Originally published in "Dark Spirits"

There’s nothing like seeing a baseball game at Safeco Field. Or any other stadium, for that matter, but I like Safeco bestespecially when my pal Mark shares one of his season-ticket-holder seats.

To flip the ball over, though, I also believe that listening to a baseball game on the radio in your own backyard when the team’s on the road is pretty special. It’s better than watching a game on T.V. any ol’ day, especially any sunny day.

While baseball tends to be associated with beer (hence the “hey, beer man” yelps at games), I think, now and again when I’m pondering such things between innings, that our national pastime deserves and goes dandy with a good cocktail. I’m shaded into the current camp that sees the Mariners as showing some signs of better things to come; but I also know supporting our local heroes sometimes needs to be accompanied by a strong drink. The following, while maybe not designed for baseball, fit this cocktail bill like a glove. And all go well with peanuts.

The Enchanted Field
On good days for our home team the field seems to have an otherworldly nature —it’s where heroic and wacky things happen. This drink can help replicate that feeling when listening to the team play an away game, especially if Alex Liddi is in the lineup. Just follow the recipe from Dark Spirits: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add 1-1/2 ounces rye (I’d suggest a High West rye if you can find it), 1 ounce Strega (a golden Italian liqueur), 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice, and 1/4 ounce simple syrup. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Rusty Nail
Have this one in honor of Rusty Kuntz, who may never have played for Seattle but who is as far as I know the only baseball player who shares my birthday (you can toast Rusty Staub, too, if you want). Also, this has that sweet-with-a-kick nature that sometimes goes hand-in-hand with being a fan. This version of the classic is out of Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz. Add ice cubes to an Old Fashioned glass until it’s about halfway full. Add two ounces Scotch (a nice blended variety like the Famous Grouse) and 1 ounce Drambuie. Stir briefly.

The Natural
Drink this when watching the Robert Redford classic of the same name or reading the Malmud novel it’s based on, but also drink it when listening to any young prospect knock the ball around or throw a perfect inning (Danny Hultzen might soon be good for the latter). This recipe’s from Dark Spirits: Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes and then add 2 ounces dark rum, 1 ounce brandy, 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 ounce orgeat syrup, and 1/2 ounce grenadine (B.G. Reynolds is a good brand for both syrups). Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

The Set Up
There’s thanklessness to being a setup man. You don’t have the glamour of the starting pitcher or the drama of the closer. In my mind all the setup hurlers and one time setup hurlers deserve a cocktail sipped just for them, even without the accolades. And this is it, with a recipe from Good Spirits: Fill an Old Fashioned or other short squat glass with ice cubes, add 2 ounces whiskey (I suggest Woodinville Mash Bill No. 9 bourbon), 1-1/2 ounce fresh orange juice, and 1/2 ounce Pernod. Stir everything with a miniature bat.

King’s Peg
This drink from days of yore may be a bit tuxedo-with-tails for baseball at first glance. But darn it, the King on our team deserves a little sparkling reverence and there’s nothing that shows appreciation better than a glass of bubbly. And besides, I’d be willing to bet at least an order of waffle fries with cheese sauce that Babe Ruth slurped his fair share of Champagne. And channeling the sure swings of his bat on any night couldn’t hurt us. This recipe is also from Dark Spirits: Put one or two ice cubes in a Champagne flute or a plastic glass from the ballpark. Add 2 ounces Cognac or brandy and then fill with chilled brut Champagne or sparkling wine. Stir briefly.

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