Booze and Baseball: Bottles to Celebrate Our National PastimeBy Brad Japhe
The Major League Baseball season is finally here. What better way to celebrate than with booze? The connection between sport and spirits isn’t always immediately obvious, but there is a long list of liquor brands honoring our national pastime in their own crafty ways. So before you root, root, root for the home team, make time to seek out these specialty bottles.
In 2017, Effen Vodka hit a home run with their commemorative Cubs label release. The limited-edition bottle features the teams iconic logo and trademark blue on its label. It was such a hit that empty bottles began popping up on eBay before the season’s end. This year, the Dutch brand is bringing this bottling back before opening day, hoping for a repeat performance. The liquid is the same as in the standard bottling: a distillate of 100% premium wheat, allowing a smooth and velvety mouthfeel. The brand is an official sponsor of the team, so even if you don’t score a bottle, you can still find it on pour throughout Wrigley Field.
BOSTON RED SOX
Speaking of legendary stadiums, Fenway Park forged its own booze partnership with Gosling’s. The Red Sox and rum might seem like strange teammates—the spirit figures a more natural fit for warm weather venues like Marlins Park in Miami, perhaps—but during the colonial era, Boston was actually the rum capital of the New World. Gosling’s, of course, is blended in Bermuda, as it has been since 1806. But their Dark ’n Stormy cocktail is proudly on pour across the stadium. The family-owned operation also maintains close ties with the region, an association which has helped drive the runaway popularity of their dark rum/ginger beer combo throughout the region.
Gosling’s Dark ’n Stormy cocktails at Fenway Park / Photo Credit: Gosling’s
On the other end of the country, Heritage Distilling is showing love for their local Seattle Mariners with BSB Baseball Label flavored whiskey. The annual springtime release is aged for just under 2 years in virgin charred American oak and then cut with brown sugar, cinnamon and spring water, bringing it down to 30% ABV before bottling. Although the label doesn’t explicitly mention their home-state ball club, it does evoke the Mariners color scheme. There’s also an explicit reminder listed on the side: “You can’t spell baseball without BSB.” If sipping on sweetened whisky isn’t your thing, it still makes a damn fine BBQ sauce.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Kansas City is particularly proud of their Royals, as of late. The once lovable losers have reinvented themselves into a dependable powerhouse in the American League. Missouri-based craft brand 360 Vodka is showing their appreciation with an annual bottle decorated with the team’s classic crowned logo. Priced at only $14.99, it’s an exceptional value for an award-winning spirit. The vodka’s parent company, Holladay Distillery, is the oldest distillery west of the Mississippi still operating on its original site.
No brand pays homage to the national pastime quite as conspicuously as Cooperstown Distillery. And why wouldn’t they? The acclaimed micro-distillery is based in the mythical birthplace of the sport, sharing a zip code with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The brand has fashioned its own baseball-shaped decanter, named in honor of Abner Doubleday, the legendary inventor of the game.
Currently they sell three separate spirits in the vessel: Classic American Whiskey, a corn, rye, and barley mash aged in used oak for 10 months; Doubleday Baseball Bourbon—a lush, semi-sweet blend of liquids sourced from Indiana; and Double Play Vodka. The glass is an enlarged replica of an actual major league baseball, even mimicking the 108 stitches used in the real thing.
Slide home with any of these bottles and you’ll be in great position to impress your fellow fans come gametime. Raise a pour, and let’s play ball!