Spirit of the Game

1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila [Lunazul]
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth [Dolin]
1/4 oz Pickle Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with pickle slices.


A few weeks ago Matt @theamateurmixologist put together an event for the drinkstagram community.  He wanted everyone to help celebrate International Day of Peace (Sept 21) by creating a cocktail that, in some way, captures the spirit of peace.  After thinking about different ways to capture this theme in a glass, I eventually turned to sports for my inspiration.

More specifically, Ultimate Frisbee.  I started playing it in college and was immediately hooked, and have played it ever since.  I won’t get into the technical details or start proselytizing on why it’s such an amazing sport to play (I’ll let these videos speak for themselves).  Instead, I want to focus on an aspect of the game which, as any player will tell you, is core to the entire sport and community.

It’s a concept called Spirit of the Game.  You see, at every level of ultimate, from pickup games to international club competitions, there are no referees.  The players themselves make all the calls and resolve disputes.  It’s their responsibility to play fairly and respectfully.  The rules even specifically call out “highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play”.  It’s this ethos that creates a high level of respect and sportsmanship throughout the ultimate community.

Now back to the whole Day of Peace thing.  A group of Ultimate players recognized the power of Spirit of the Game, and tried to use it to teach more than good sportsmanship.  They started Ultimate Peace in the Middle East, a region with many conflicts between various cultures.  They realized by creating multicultural teams of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, the kids would learn important conflict resolution skills through spirit of the game on the field.  Plus, they might even have some fun and build new friendships while they’re at it.

As I thought about Matt’s Peace Day cocktail challenge, I knew I wanted to incorporate Ultimate and Ultimate Peace.  One other defining characteristic of Ultimate is that from high school through upper level club leagues, tournaments are a very common.  It’s not unusual for teams to play 4-5 games in a day, or even 7-9 games over the course of a weekend.  That’s a lot of running around, and proper hydration and nutrition is very important.  During one particularly hot tournament I was dragging in the third game.  Drinking water or even Gatorade wasn’t doing much for me, and a veteran teammate suggested I take a shot or two of pickle juice.  I was admittedly skeptical, but it made sense since  the salty brine is packed with electrolytes.  So he handed me the jar and I took two large swigs.  Shortly after I got a jolt of energy and my muscles started to loosen back up.  It’s been on the sideline with me ever since.

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Green Chartreuse felt like a good companion to pickle juice, since it’s very heavy on the herbs.  Agave from tequila brought in even more vegetal notes.  Finally, I wanted a crisp, dry finish, and found it in the Dry Vermouth.

The Spirit of the Game is pickley and herbal on the nose.  Some agave notes linger in the background.  They come up front on the sip, as the Green Chartreuse and pickle juice combine for a vegetal kick.  Vinegar and dry vermouth provide some tartness.  The swallow is dry and refreshing, with a kick from the tequila and final briney wave at the end.

Thanks again to Matt for this wonderful cocktail challenge.  It’s a great way to spread a positive message while enjoying a good drink.  Hopefully you’ve learned a little more about Ultimate Frisbee too, as I truly think it’s a fantastic sport that teaches many wonderful life lessons.

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