A staff member recently observed some local bar patrons brainstorming beverages to mark the arrival of Richmond's new professional baseball team, the Flying Squirrels. To aid the cause, we turn to a professional team of our own. Here are the results, enough for one drink an inning till the seventh-inning stretch, by which time you should just stop, sit down and hope your head stops spinning by the ninth — or at least by next week, when we publish Style Weekly's Fifth Annual Bar Guide. Let us know which ones you think are the game-winning drinks, or submit your own at email@example.com.
The Squirrel Kicking Bomb
Bartender: Heather Safley, CafAc Diem
The Windup: The drink includes two parts: One half-pint of Red Bull and a shot glass on the side with 1 ounce of Absolut Mandarin, a dash of grenadine and a dash of raspberry pucker to float on top.
The Pitch: This makes for a sweet, summery twist on a classic bomb-style shot, reflecting the team's colors of red and black.
Inspiration: The Flying Squirrels, of course, and from my infamous nickname, Hbomb.
Bartender: Dominick DeDonno, Tiki Bob's Cantina
The Windup: Shake, strain and shoot 1 ounce Bacardi Dragonberry Rum, A« ounce peach schnapps and 1 ounce pineapple juice.
The Pitch: A fruity and refreshing shooter that captures the essence of warm, sunny summer days.
Inspiration: When I first told my bar manager, Brian Barzoloski, aka Barz, about Style's request, he suggested something he'd been working on called Hit by a Pitch. It's basically a straight shot of tequila, but as you shoot it he comes around the bar and punches you in the head. He's a pretty big guy, so no one had the balls to try it. For the Pop Fly, I wanted to create something that was original and would embody the warm, sunny days of the baseball season. So with a freshly paid-off credit card, a new pack of Camel Blues and a full stomach, I sat down on the patio at Tiki Bob's and just started ordering shooters that had been brewing in my head. All of them were good, but I kept coming back to this one: It just pops in your mouth! And that's how I came up with the name, Pop Fly.
New York Deli's Demetrios Tsiptsis, top, found a winner by adding Southern Comfort to the classic nuts and berries drink. He suggests garnishing with a cherry and peanut shell. Photo by Ash DanielSouthern Flying Squirrel
Bartender: Demetrios Tsiptsis, New York Deli
The Windup: As a drink: One part hazelnut liqueur, one part raspberry liqueur, one part Southern Comfort, add milk, ice, shake and serve in a Collins glass. Garnish with a cherry. As a shooter or martini: Substitute one part Baileys for milk, shake and strain in a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry.
The Pitch: It's nutty and sweet, with a winning personality, sure to hit home ... like the Flying Squirrels!
Inspiration: This drink came about as sort of a no-brainer. Squirrels love nuts and berries, so I took that classic cocktail and added Southern Comfort because there are only two types of flying squirrels in America. The type we have in Richmond is the Southern Flying Squirrel. Also, if it's to be a shooter or martini, then the Baileys makes it smooth.
Nutzy's Nectar, created by Josh Parks at F.W. Sullivan's, comes in a pint glass. He says it reflects his tastes and the Flying Squirrels. Photo by Scott ElmquistNutzy's Nectar
Bartender: Josh Parks, F.W. Sullivan's
The Windup: Fill a pint glass with ice. Pour in A_-ounce each of hazelnut liqueur, black raspberry liqueur and vanilla vodka. Top of with equal parts cranberry juice and sour mix.
The Pitch: Nutzy's special blend of nuts and berries is sure to quench anyone's thirst.
Inspiration: When a few of my friends came into F.W. Sullivan's one afternoon and asked for a Josh Parks special, I grabbed these ingredients on the fly and they loved it. When Style Weekly called about this article I thought to myself, coincidence ... or destiny?
The Nutty Republic
Bartenders: Page Cassada and Jarrod Smith, the Republic
The Windup: It's a shot that includes equal parts Baileys, Jameson and hazelnut liqueur, and a A« pint of the Jefferson's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout. You drop the shot into the beer and knock it back.
The Pitch: It's delicious with subtle chocolate and nut flavors.
Inspiration: It's our spin on the old classic car bomb.
The Nut Buster
Bartender: Camille Kostin, Lucky Buddha
The Windup: Shake 1A¬-ounce Castries Peanut Butter Rum with A_-ounce Creme de Cacao Dark, A_-ounce hazelnut liqueur and whipped cream. Pour into a martini glass rimmed with Hershey's chocolate syrup and crushed honey-roasted peanuts.
The Pitch: You've just been nut busted!
Inspiration: I wanted it to bust a nut in your mouth, and have it be delicious.
Sometimes You Feel Like a Nutzy
Bartender: Mary Lou Bakewell and team, Home Team Grill
The Windup: Shake the following ingredients with ice: A« ounce vodka, A« ounce coconut vodka, A« ounce Frangelico and a A¬ ounce milk. Partly rim a rocks glass with chocolate syrup and crushed almonds. Strain shaker into glass and serve as a martini or shooter.
The Pitch: A fun, versatile drink that everyone's sure to go nuts over. It's a sweet mixture of hazelnut, coconut, almond and chocolate that's more than just a base hit. The versatility of being served as a shooter (a “single”), a cocktail (a “double”) or a martini (a “triple”) makes it perfect for everyone. Either way, it's a home run!
Inspiration: Everyone at Home Team loves to go nuts and have fun, so this drink had to represent not just the Flying Squirrels, but also their dedicated fan base. S