It would have been fine if Max Sanford hadn’t dropped the ball.
But the New Yorker did, just as the blue-uniformed Neal Farren was closing in on him, and he got pinched. The authorities were not amused: It cost Sanford a thousand bucks to get back in the game, and that was during Prohibition, when a buck was actual money.
Lesson: If you’re going to buy a load of rubber baseballs at 55 cents a dozen, hollow them out, fill each with 15 cents worth of mixed booze and sell them as “Baseball Cocktails” on 14th Street for 50 cents a pop, when a cop comes up to see what’s drawing the crowd, for God’s sake keep a tight grip on your balls.
There used to be a good deal of overlap between the gents that liked to while away an idle afternoon at the ballgame and the ones that liked to lean against the bar and moisten the mortal clay with a cocktail or three. For a while there, Philadelphia even had a “Gin Cocktail Base Ball Club” (that might just be the edge that the Phillies need this year).
And yet—despite the best efforts of Mr. Sanford—there is no generally accepted, classic “Baseball Cocktail.” There’s not even a “Babe Ruth Cocktail.” If there were ever a man who didn’t think a drink was something to be avoided, it was The Sultan of Swat (he was famous for putting away a quart of whiskey and ginger ale with his breakfast).
Fortunately, there is one classic with which to toast the new season: the Cooperstown Cocktail. It was created at the old Waldorf-Astoria back before Prohibition as a tribute to the sporting types from the famed upstate town who used to drop by when they were in the city.
Now, let’s play ball.
Contributed by David Wondrich
- 1.5 oz Tanqueray Gin
- .75 oz Martini & Rossi Rosso Vermouth
- .75 oz Noilly Prat Original Dry Vermouth
- 2 dashes The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters
- 2 to 3 Mint leaves
- Glass: Cocktail
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake gently and strain into a cocktail glass.
For a variation, cut half an orange wheel into three pieces and muddle them in the shaker before adding the other ingredients.
David Wondrich is the author of Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl and Esquire magazine’s drinks correspondent. He is also a Liquor.com advisor .