There’s nothing like the Cavs being in the hole 0-3 to make you want a drink. Alternatively, there’s nothing like the Warriors steaming towards their third championship in four years to make you want to raise a glass. Either way, we asked bartenders in the Cleveland and Oakland areas to craft their finest themed cocktails for the Cavs and the Warriors. Whether you’re here to drink to the Warriors in four, drink away your JR Smith memories, or just drink, here’s how to make some killer NBA Finals cocktails.
Wine and Gold Winner
The folks at Mahall’s 20 Lanes, a bowling alley that’s been serving up strikes and drinks in the Cleveland are since 1924, believe that the Cavs can win this thing. So they created a drink, the “Wine and Gold Winner,” that is all confidence.
Besides showcasing the wine and gold colors in a layered fashion, explains Mahall’s bar manager Cassie Trainer, the cocktail uses house-made plum syrup, a hat-tip to an ’80s campaign to get Northeast Ohioans to start saying, “New York may be the Big Apple, but Cleveland’s a plum.” Yeah, no one in Cleveland gets it either. But they do get stubbornly believing in one team and one man. “Plum” might not have stuck, but Believeland sure as hell did.
- 1.5 oz Cleveland Underground Sugar Maple Whiskey
- .5 oz honey syrup
- .5 oz fresh lemon juice
- .75 oz plum syrup
- 4 mint leaves
Shake whiskey, honey syrup, and lemon juice with mint leaves. Strain over new ice in a rocks glass. Pour plum syrup down the side of the glass so that it sinks to the bottom. Garnish with a mint sprig. Stir before drinking.
Golden State Warriors
Come Out to Play
The Golden State Warriors sometimes get fans in Oracle Arena amped up with a clip from the movie The Warriors, in which Luther from the Rogues clinks three glass bottles together and eerily jeers, “Warriors, come out to play.” It’s intimidating as hell. So is going up against the Warriors when Steph Curry is nailing 3s from the next town over, and Kevin Durant is banking every jump shot with ease.
The crew at the Bay Area’s Hotsy Totsy Club (Jessica Maria, Tabatha VonMohn, and Ava Anderson) channeled this intensity with their cocktail creation, “Come Out to Play.” In it you’ll find green chartreuse for Draymond, curry bitters for Steph, and of course, salty LeBron tears. No mercy.
- 1 oz OSCO sea gin (distilled in Oakland)
- 1 oz Lo-Fi dry vermouth
- .5 oz blue curacao
- .5 oz (Draymond) Green Chartreuse
- 1 dash saline solution (LeBron’s tears)
- 3 drops (Steph) Curry bitters
- .5 oz lemon juice
- ⅓ oz gum syrup
- hard cider
Combine all ingredients except cider and shake. Strain over fresh ice and top with Golden State hard cider. Garnish with three lemon wheels.