I have been looking forward to Group D ever since I envisioned this series, because it offered some of the most interesting possibilities for cocktails.
The cocktail selection hasn’t been static, either. As this group has played its matches in the World Cup, I’ve changed one of the cocktails based on the way its team has played. That team is Costa Rica, who have laughed at this so-called “group of death.” To be sure, it still is such; it is Costa Rica who is that Death.
Along those lines, I started to think about something celebratory for Los Ticos, something that also hearkened to their status as a harbinger of woe unto all other Group D teams. This brought me to sparkling wine, and champagne cocktails like the infamous Death in the Afternoon. Riffing off a couple such cocktails — the Old Cuban from Jeffrey Morganthaler, and the classic French 75 — we have a balanced, herbal drink that will surprise you after a couple games:
Los Ticos de la Muerte
1½ oz – Zhumir aguardiente (or rum)
¾ oz – simple syrup
½ oz – fresh lime juice
barspoon of absinthe
2 dashes of Bolivar bitters (or Angostura)
dry sparkling wine
Combine everything except the sparkling wine in a shaker. Add ice, shake until chilled, and pour into a champagne flute.* Top with sparkling wine, and garnish with and orange curl.
*Champagne flutes have different volumes; adjust proportions accordingly.