Throwing Games and Pouring Cocktails

This week I’m paying homage to….well, noting the existence of the 1919 White Sox squad that threw the World Series for a few thousand bucks. The best known member of that dirty crew was poor “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, so I thought I’d whip up the “Shoeless Joe” cocktail, the recipe for which I found on Bon Appetit. Interestingly, the recipe doesn’t note what kind of liquor to throw in, so I went the safe, vodka route, but some commenters also suggested bourbon. Not bad, I’d probably get rid of the club soda as the syrup and coffee tastes were a little watered down. I’d also add a bit more black cherry and soda, as those flavors didn’t really pop. It was good though, I’d make this one again.

  • 1.5 oz. Reyka Vodka
  • oz. Black Cherry simple syrup
  • oz. strong cold-brew coffee
  • 3 oz. club soda
  • 3 oz. can cola

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Next up is a “Black Sox” cocktail, the ingredients for which I found via a now-defunct Chicago sports bar. I wasn’t sure of the exact amounts and I substituted my black cherry syrup for the black cherry vodka that was recommended, but this came out really well! It’s sort of candyish sweet with the strong curacao and raspberry liquors tastes, but the cream is a perfect way to “ground” the sugary taste and give it a nice, velvety mouth feel. A great little drink for dessert courses, I thought.

  • 1.5 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1.5 oz Razzmatazz
  • 1 oz Black Cherry syrup
  • Top with cream

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I opened Charles Fountain’s “The Betrayal” possessing little to no knowledge of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Well, that ignorance was quickly cured as Dr. Fountain, a historian by trade, brings an academic’s appreciation for detail and context to this Shakespearean tale of corruption in America’s pastime. Much of the volume is spent tracking down the myriad of theories and stray threads that have built up around the key mysteries, namely who funded the scheme and which players participated. The book also does a good job outlining the important trends within baseball, such as poorly paid players and a see-no-evil attitude towards gambling, that contributed to the fixed series.

This exhaustive approach has its pros and cons: Fountain’s voluminous research does much to educate you as to the key players and themes, but novice readers not extremely interested in baseball history might find it a tad overwhelming. I did think the readability of the story suffered a bit due to this extensive detail and ever expanding narrative, but it’s still a story worth getting through.  It also serves as a good antidote to those who decry the current state of American sport — after reading this, you’ll be celebrating the relatively clean status quo.

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