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 product.
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).
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 baseball season: the Cooperstown Cocktail. It was created at the old Waldorf-Astoria hotel 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. It includes gin, equal parts sweet and dry vermouth, orange bitters and mint leaves, and it’s the refreshment you want before, during or after a nine-inning day out.
- 1 1/2 ounces Tanqueray gin
- 3/4 ounce Martini & Rossi rosso vermouth
- 3/4 ounce Noilly Prat Original dry vermouth
- 2 dashes The Bitter Truth orange bitters
- 2 mint leaves
- Garnish: mint sprig (optional)
Add the gin, vermouths, orange bitters and mint leaves to a mixing glass with ice.
Stir until well-chilled and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a mint sprig, if desired.