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Growing up, we spent numerous long summer days at the stadium watching the local farm team, the Pawtucket Red Sox, play baseball. McCoy stadium was always hot and muggy (and is infamously the location of a record-breaking 33-inning long game in 1981). I remember drinking cold sodas and devouring roasted peanuts until we'd left tall piles of shells under our feet. I remember heckling the players, but confess I have no recollection of whether the Sox won or lost their games. And I admit that I still—even now, as an adult—find summer baseball to be more about the journey than the result.
But over the years my tastes have changed. On a hot day, I often prefer a chilled cocktail to a cold soda. But it can be inconvenient to bring jiggers, shakers, bitters, and glasses out to even a backyard game, and—worse!—your friends might find your fiddling tedious. A six pack of beer is so much more convenient. It's a no-brainer, right?
Possibly. But that still leaves us room for a some-brainer solution. Enter the bottled cocktail.
The great value of bottling your cocktail is convenience. For aging, a barrel is generally more appropriate, and, while some may claim that flavors continue to "meld" in a bottle, I'd argue those same benefits could be achieved in a simple pitcher. But bottled cocktails are perfect for a party: Mixed in advance, chilled to ice-cold, and tossed ever-so-casually to your buddy as he or she walks in the door. No stirring and straining, no fancy glasses, no fiddling with garnishes or even ice. (Show up with this custom sixpack, and that homebrew someone else brought might not seem quite so original.)
The ballpark peanuts of my youth are the inspiration for today's bottled cocktail. Whiskey plus peanuts plus salt, minus having to prep individual cocktails equals summer success.
Nut infusions happen pretty quickly, so our roasted peanut-infused rye whiskey will only need 24 hours to take on a sweet, nutty aroma. A little added salt completes the savory flavor, and a small amount of water added to the mix takes the place of the water that would melt and dilute the drink if you were stirring and serving it on the rocks. The resulting Old Fashioned is rich in flavor, but light enough for a warm summer night. Bring a chilled six-pack of these to your next game and you, too, might not care if the home team wins.
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