Baseball season is a long slog – long enough to drive anyone to drink. But today marks the start of the MLB Championship Series, and there can't really be a better time to hoist a celebratory cocktail.
This year’s tournament features geographically diverse competitors. From New York to Philly and all the way to Texas and San Francisco the teams, fans, food, and especially the drinks couldn't be much more different. So it stands to reason that what’s used to toast the survival of these clubs into the depths of the postseason should be as unique as the cities they represent. And while beer is traditionally the beverage of choice for baseball fans, we could all use a stiff one to dull the pain of seeing the Yankees play for yet another shot at the World Series trophy.
Luckily, each team's home has a thriving cocktail culture, and a long list of drinks that its known for. So you'll never have to be without a glass in hand regardless of where your loyalties lie.
New York – The Manhattan is the classic New York drink that first comes to mind when anyone thinks of the City That Never Sleeps, but given that the Yankees bring new, and progressively more expensive faces to the mix every year, it's important that the Manhattan gets an upgrade, as well. Still featuring the punch and spice of rye whiskey, this minor twist on the traditional adds a little sophisticated sweetness with Maraschino liqueur and orange bitters.
The Manhattan – Yankees Style
2 oz. rye whiskey (Old Overholt provides a nice kick of spice and just enough fruit to balance out the cocktail)
.5 oz. sweet vermouth
.5 oz. dry vermouth
.5oz Maraschino liqueur
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker full of ice and stir until ice cold. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry. Do not shake! A shaken Manhattan is cloudy, watery, and a whole lot of not very good. In essence, it's a serious cocktail fail.
Texas – The Rangers have been up and down in recent years and a lot of the team's fans are probably still wondering what their chances are against a team that spends $150 million more than their club in player salaries. But the Rangers namesake, not to mention the residents of the great state of Texas, are nothing if not tough – laying claim to a tradition of individualism, gumption, and Chuck Norris-like badassery. So it's only fitting that Texas' liquor of choice is often tequila. The Massacre is a Texas creation featuring tequila, Campari and ginger ale that will get Rangers fans ready for pretty much any way this series ends up going. Sweet with a heavily bitter herbal edge to it, not to mention some serious tequila-borne heat, this cocktail will keep Texas fired up through the series and dull the pain if the Yankees are the one doing the massacring.
2 oz. tequila (Herradura silver is a solid pick here, offering just enough complexity to stand up to the Campari)
¼ oz. Campari
2 dashes orange bitters
Fill a lowball glass with ice cubes and add the tequila, Campari and bitters. Top it all off with ginger ale, and stir well. Drop a jalapeno slice in if you're feeling brave.
Philadelphia – In the City of Brotherly Love, where the Eagles are 3-2 and the Phillies are playing for the pennant, life would seem to be looking up. But Philly has a reputation as a hard-drinking town and that's not going to change when they go to battle against the Giants. Whiskey is the order of the day, but since this town doesn't do anything by halves, we'll add brandy and rum to the mix, creating a warming and slightly sweet cocktail called the Three Base Hit that swings a mean bat and makes it that much easier to celebrate victory, swallow defeat, or eat three cheese steaks wit' the works.
Three Base Hit
1 oz. brandy
Juice from half a lemon
1 oz. dark rum (The Kraken makes one hell of a statement, cutting through the fresh lemon with molasses and chocolate flavors)
.5 oz. simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar combined over heat and cooled)
1 oz. bourbon
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker full of ice and give it a few hard shakes. Pour into a lowball glass full of ice and invent new ways of telling the Giants how much they suck from the outfield bleachers.
San Francisco – If any city has a right to lay claim to cocktail culture, it's San Francisco. One of the cities leading the charge on mixology, San Francisco also has a solid baseball legacy. Plus, some Giants players have a reputation for using cocktails of all sorts to take their game to the next level. That approach isn't recommended, however. Instead, a San Francisco Cocktail should deliver the mellow vibe the city is known for while helping make those early Eastern Time Zone games a little more festive. The drink, featured in one of mixology's bibles, "The Savoy Cocktail Book", brings vermouth and sloe gin to the table, along with orange and Angostura bitters. It's bracing, with sweet fruit from the sloe gin and a refreshing heat. It's perfect for not only warming up crisp Fall days in the bay area, but also for tuning out the sure-to-be foaming at the mouth Phillies fans.
The San Francisco Cocktail
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
3/4 oz. dry vermouth
3/4 oz. sloe gin
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker full of ice and shake hard until you see frost on the shaker. Strain into a cocktail glass and sip until you can no longer hear the Philadelphia accents.