The Third Rail: The Legal Drinking Age


This week, Obama named current federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor as his first nominee to the Supreme Court. I hate to break it to Her Honor, but there was good reason soon-to-retire Justice Souter called it, “The world’s best job in the world’s worst city.” After living in Manhattan for years, she may be disappointed to discover that the only cocktails the Supreme Court have dealt with recently are the lethal kind. And so before the confirmation hearings begin, let’s take a recess to consider what she’ll be missing out on.

Sotomayor didn’t just move to New York after college like most people (ahem); she grew up right in the Bronx. So I assume she grew up swigging Bronx Cocktails (1 1/2 oz gin, ¾ orange juice, 1 tsp sweet vermouth and 1 tsp dry, shaken and strained, per Wondrich. Isn’t that what all native Bronxosaurs drink? I wouldn’t know, I’ve only been to the zoo. At least I think it was the zoo….

Anyways, in more recent years Sotomayor has distinguished herself as a Judgette (¾ peach-flavored brandy, ¾ gin, ¾ dry vermouth, ¼ lime juice, shaken with ice, strained and garnished with a cherry). Some reporters have complained about the lack of quotable highlights in her rulings, but most Americans should be glad to know that she at least likes the national pastime, and deserves a spot of her own in Cooperstown. As a cocktail, the Cooperstown is a little like a Bronx Cocktail on steroids (um…): 4 parts gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part dry, shaken with ice, strained, and garnished with mint, per Kingwell.

Studying a nominee’s past is all well and good, and Supreme Court Justices have to take history into account (we like to think), but what really matters is what she does once she joins the Court. I’m hoping Sotomayor brings some spirits with her to the bench. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that New York’s Supreme Court was ruling on the classification of a Bacardi Cocktail: 1 ½ oz Bacardi-brand rum (or else), ½ oz lime juice, ½ oz grenadine, shaken with ice and strained.

So good luck, Your Honor, never forget the Latin rule of Nunc Est Bibendum, and don’t try any cocktail made by Clarence Thomas.