The Third Rail: Sports Drinks


Ask anyone — friends, family, strangers on the subway — and they will agree that I am not a fan of sports. You are about as likely to catch me cheering at a football stadium as you are to find me robbing graves at the local cemetery. It’s not that I hate sports on principle. Most of them just leave me cold, with one broad exception: if the arena is also a bar, then I am as enthusiastic an amateur as any Olympian. I will happily accept a challenge to any bar game — darts, pool, Big Buck Hunter, and even ones I’ve never heard of before walking in the pub. Nothing inspires the competitive spirit or a misplaced sense of expertise like a glass of liquid courage.

Athletic endeavors don’t call for justification when you’re in a bar. No premise is too esoteric when people have danced with lady liquor. I learned this by attending a tournament of Ladies’ Arm Wrestling at Sweet Revenge, which was being covered by a friend for the Clinton Hill Blog. And Sweet Revenge offers the ideal, cringeworthy cocktail to go with this display of feminine muscle. The Soft Opening (yes, really) is made of Citrus Vodka and Pink Lemonade over ice.

Not all tavern tourneys are gender specific, though. Darts offers the dangers of small, aerodynamic metal spikes thrown by inebriated persons of both sexes. Unless you’re interested in Ren Faire archery contests, darts offers one of the few chances to earn an eye patch and an interesting story outside of the military. I recommend you challenge yourself to a game: Throw a few rounds when you first arrive at the bar. Then, have at least one Stinger (2 oz cognac, ¾ oz crème de menthe shaken with ice and strained) and one Bull’s Eye (1 oz brandy, 2 oz Apple brandy or cider, in a highball glass over ice, fill up with ginger ale) before throwing the opposing sets. Will the Sober You or the Drunk You come out on top? The answer may surprise you (well, the Drunk You at least).

Playing pool offers the small consolation that, drunk or sober, your skill is directly related to your ability to understand simple geometry. An authority on the game — and by that I mean someone who has beaten me repeatedly — suggests you start by studying the classic Donald Duck in Mathmagic Land. In the meantime, an Eight Ball might help your game. Just mix together your crack and your…. Whoa, um, I meant the cocktail Eight Ball: equal parts Vodka and Tia Maria over ice. The other kind might help your game too but that’s for a different type of Web site entirely.

And no list of bar sports would be complete without a comment on Beer Pong. So here it is: Go back to college.