Drink Your Way Through The 2022 Formula One Season With These Local Beverages

Drink Your Way Through The 2022 Formula One Season With These Local Beverages

Will my fellow Americans join me in the weekly rite of Sunday Morning Drinking?

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Many years ago, back when I was young and dumb, I decided to challenge myself to drink my way through the Formula One calendar by curating a fine selection of locally-inspired cocktails and beverages to sip while I watched the race. I’m pleased to report that, three years later, I have learned nothing and will be repeating this same feat in 2022.

So, I’m asking you all to join me in my endeavors. Let’s raise a glass to the Formula One season and share some drinks.

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Bahrain Grand Prix: Black Tea and Spiced Liqueur

Bahrain Grand Prix: Black Tea and Spiced Liqueur

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Bahrain is one of the few countries on the Formula One calendar that features complex alcohol laws. Here, alcohol is only available in hotels or through private licenses — and you’re still not supposed to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. Because of that, there’s a much smaller legacy of local cocktails than you might find in another country.

Instead, indulge yourself with a fancy black tea blend topped off with a liqueur made of local spices — cardamom, coriander, or ginger. Subtle, classy, delicious, and, if you’re into that kind of thing, tinged with health benefits.

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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: Saudi Champagne

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: Saudi Champagne

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The sale and consumption of alcohol is firmly not allowed in Saudi Arabia, though an enterprising tourist can find some black-market liquor should they try hard enough. Saudi Arabia does, however, have a non-alcoholic beverage called “Saudi champagne” that you can easily turn into your degenerate cocktail of choice. Two parts apple juice to one part sparkling water (or sparkling wine), top it up with a soda like Sprite, and throw in some apple slices, orange slices, mint leaves, and lemon juice, and you’ve got a winner.

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Australian Grand Prix: Aussie & Stormy

Australian Grand Prix: Aussie & Stormy

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I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting Australia, so I can’t personally vouch for the country’s taste in alcohol (though I hear that it is vast). So, I’m going to listen to the Internet, which is telling me that rum has a long and complex history on the continent, and recommend the Aussie & Stormy.

Kuletos instructs that you mix one part spiced rum with two parts ginger soda and top the whole bad boy off with some cinnamon syrup and ice. I made this with brown sugar and cinnamon syrup, and folks: This is dangerously good.

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Gran Premio Dell’Emilia Romagna: Negroni Sbagliato

Gran Premio Dell’Emilia Romagna: Negroni Sbagliato

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From the wide selection of wines to the delightful cocktail menus, if you’re on the hunt for an alcoholic beverage, you really can’t go wrong in Italy. My heart wants to recommend a bellini, a Prosecco cocktail made with peach nectar (and a delightful mimosa alternative that can be endlessly customized with your fruit of choice), but I can’t be so predictable. Instead, I’m recommending the negroni sbagliato.

Literally translated, “negroni sbagliato” means “wrong, broken, or mistaken negroni.” The standard cocktail is made with one part gin, one part vermouth rosso, one part Campari, and a little orange peel for garnish. I do not much care for gin — and the negroni sbagliato swaps the gin for Prosecco. It retains most of the negroni flavor folks love but with the tongue-sparkle you get from Prosecco. A much friendlier morning drink.

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Miami Grand Prix: Miami Vice

Miami Grand Prix: Miami Vice

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If you want a little taste of a beach resort in the comfort of your own home, then you need the Miami Vice. Just be warned; it’s a little involved, since this cocktail is actually a blend of a strawberry daiquiri and a piña colada. I’ve made this specific version of the cocktail from Liquor.com, and it is delightful.

If you’re having a hard time making a halfway decent frozen drink at home (i.e., you have less “silky daiquiri” and more “daiquiri-flavored snow cone”), try freezing your ingredients beforehand, pre-blend your ice, and add that crushed ice in slowly. For the Miami Vice, frozen strawberries, pineapple juice, and coconut cream will make all the difference.

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Spanish Grand Prix: Tinto de Verano

Spanish Grand Prix: Tinto de Verano

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If there’s one thing I love about Spain, it’s the country’s undying love of mixing everything with red wine. In my last iteration of this blog, I recommended the kalimoxto, which is a blend of red wine and Coca-Cola. Today, I offer instead the tinto de verano, which is red wine mixed with equal parts lemon-y soda and served over ice. It’s like the lazy man’s sangria, and it is delightful.

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Monaco Grand Prix: Champagne

Monaco Grand Prix: Champagne

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When in Monaco, grab yourself a glass of the fanciest and most expensive champagne you can find — it is, after all, the principality’s national drink, and it’s customary to sip champagne any time you go out, even if you’re just grabbing a quick bite to eat for lunch.

If you’re not on a Moët budget, then the $3-a-bottle André you find at your local gas station will do. This race does, after all, fall on the same day as the Indy 500, and I will not judge anyone for bringing a cheap beer mindset to the champagne-popping elitism of Formula One.

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Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Pearls of Baku

Azerbaijan Grand Prix: Pearls of Baku

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I don’t know much about Azerbaijan drinking culture, the alcoholic portion of which is small due to the country’s heavily Muslim population — though I did fall down the Wikipedia rabbit hole of the country’s tea culture, which sounds fantastic. Instead, I’m turning to the Fairmont hotel chain’s Pearls of Baku cocktail, which blends equal amounts of vodka and pomegranate juice with ice, powdered sugar, and a slice of lime. Pomegranate is, after all, Azerbaijan’s national fruit.

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Canadian Grand Prix: Caesar

Canadian Grand Prix: Caesar

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The Caesar is the quintessential Canadian cocktail, and if you’ve never heard of it, then you’re missing out. It’s basically a Bloody Mary, but instead of tomato juice, you use clamato juice. I know, I know, it sounds awful — but that little salty twist from the clam juice makes a massive difference. You can also pretend you’re the douchey little vampire kids from South Park.

My husband is Canadian, and his family relies on this trusty recipe from the New York Times. But like the Bloody Mary, the Caesar is a mere canvas upon which you can paint your masterpiece. If you want to get real fancy, you can add some maple bacon.

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British Grand Prix: Black Velvet

British Grand Prix: Black Velvet

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I have a confession to make: I am not a gin drinker. This makes me something of a pariah in England, where gin is the order of the day for just about every cocktail — and it also makes it difficult to recommend a Blackstock-approved cocktail, since there aren’t many. And that is why I’m going to recommend the Black Velvet. Mix up equal parts Guinness and champagne, and there you have it. A Black Velvet. It is, shockingly, a lot more delicious than it sounds.

Alternately, you could also take advantage of the exceptional wealth of delicious British ciders that occasionally make their way to our humble American shores. Try something other than Strongbow, I beg of ye.

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Austrian Grand Prix: Kaiserspritzer

Austrian Grand Prix: Kaiserspritzer

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For me, the ultimate Austrian drink will always be the ridiculous home brewed alcohol some fine Austrian gentleman gave me at when I camped at the Red Bull Ring. If you’re not able to source an Austrian gentleman to provide you with the local wares, then you should instead have yourself a kaiserspritzer.

A spritzer, as you may well already know, is a blend of soda water and white wine. The kaiserspritzer adds a splash of elderberry syrup to that mix for a sweet-and-tart aftertaste. You can find elderberry syrup at most organic food stores — lots of folks use it as a natural health supplement to reduce stress and inflammation and to combat seasonal colds. So you can feel good about sipping your fancy Austrian cocktail knowing it’s actually good for your immune system.

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French Grand Prix: Calvados

French Grand Prix: Calvados

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France is the land of legendary cocktails, most of which are surrounded by some sort of myth designed to transform each sip into a transcendental experience. There’s the French 75, a cocktail first mixed at the New York Bar in Paris that was said to have such a kick it felt like being shelled in World War I. The Ritz Hotel in Paris claims ownership of the sidecar and was again named for WWI — this time for the motorcycle sidecars so popular at the time. The list goes on and on.

Instead, I’m recommending a fine glass of French calvados, an apple brandy made in Normandy. With origins that trace back to the eighth century, this brandy is made from distilled apple cider — and it is good. The more calvados is aged, the more it tastes like any old brandy, so if you can find a younger vintage, you’ll have the fruity apple kick. Yes, I am recommending you drink straight alcohol before noon.

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Hungarian Grand Prix: Pálinka

Hungarian Grand Prix: Pálinka

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I don’t care how hard you have to search: I want you to go out and find a bottle of pálinka, Hungary’s national drink. It’s a strong fruit brandy made with stone fruits like plums, apricots, or cherries, and there’s so much pride behind the craft of the drink that it, like champagne, can only earn the “pálinka” name if it conforms to a specific set of regulations.

If you can’t find authentic pálinka near you — and you may not if you don’t have a strong Eastern European tradition in your region — then a powerful apricot brandy will do. You’ll just be missing out on the sheer joy that is Hungary’s drink.

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Belgian Grand Prix: Kriek Lambic

Belgian Grand Prix: Kriek Lambic

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Belgium is known for its diverse selection of beers — witbier, lambic, Duvel, dubbel — that are all fine choices for sipping while you watch the action at Spa-Francorchamps. You’ll usually be able to find any of these bad boys where you buy craft beer.

But for morning drinking, I recommend a kriek lambic. This drink starts out as you standard lambic, but macerated cherries are added as the drink matures, giving this beer a fruity kick. I’m not a big beer drinker, but I will absolutely fuck with a kriek lambic.

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Dutch Grand Prix: Kopstootje

Dutch Grand Prix: Kopstootje

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What I am recommending to you for the Dutch Grand Prix is not so much a drink as it is a way to drink. Kopstootje is a drinking ritual where a bartender fills a tulip-shaped shot glass to the very rim with old-world gin. You then put your hands behind your back, bend over, and slurp your first sip of gin off the top. You can then down the rest of it and follow it up with a sip of Dutch beer — perhaps even a Heineken. If you feel you must, you can do this more than once. It may be necessary if you are not a Max Verstappen fan.

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Italian Grand Prix: Barbaresco Wine

Italian Grand Prix: Barbaresco Wine

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It’s a damn good thing Italy has such a vast selection of drinks, because the Formula One circus is hitting this country twice. If you’d like to head for the wine rack, I recommend popping out of your chianti-and-pinot-grigio comfort zone to try something new, like a barbaresco. It has a very perfume-y scent that translates into a gorgeous, smoky red fruit flavor. It’s a fairly intense wine with tons of acidity, body, and tannins, so sip accordingly — and maybe pair it with a meat-heavy breakfast.

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Singapore Grand Prix: Lady of Singapore

Singapore Grand Prix: Lady of Singapore

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You could have a Singapore sling to celebrate the Singapore Grand Prix. You could be basic. Or you could make a Lady of Singapore, which is made of rum, pineapple juice, lime juice, cream of coconut, sweet cream, and grenadine (or pomegranate molasses, which I highly recommend). You can either serve this over ice or over crushed ice, the latter of which will always be my favorite when it comes to drinks with pineapple and cream.

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Japanese Grand Prix: Sake

Japanese Grand Prix: Sake

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If you’ve never tried sake, I want you to go out and do that right now. I mean, immediately. Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the vast selection — any self-respecting liquor store will include a few tasting cues, but if worst comes to worst, go to a Japanese restaurant and commune with your server. Cloudy or clear, warm or iced, bitter or floral, I guarantee there’s going to be a sake for you.

I, too, was once intimidated by the massive sake lists at Japanese restaurants. Then I went out with the Jalopnik crew of many years ago, and they ordered me the most delightful, cherry-blossom-tasting sake I’ve ever had. I got Japanese-Texas fusion with a former boss years later and had a sake that was like drinking strawberries and cream. I am now firmly on the sake train, and I want you to be, too.

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United States Grand Prix: Ranch Water

United States Grand Prix: Ranch Water

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My Texas cocktail of choice has what may truly be the worst name in the world — ranch water — but is surprisingly delicious and easy to make. Southern Living has a simple recipe: pop two shots of tequila and one shot of fresh lime juice in a highball glass, then top it off with some cool Topo Chico. Easy peasy.

This is also one of those drinks that is endlessly customizable. Stir in a few jalapeño slices for a spicy twist, substitute lime juice for grapefruit or lemon, or swap the tequila for mezcal. (If you’re lucky, you can also find cans of ranch water at your local liquor store.)

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Mexico Grand Prix: Spicy Grapefruit Paloma

Mexico Grand Prix: Spicy Grapefruit Paloma

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I had the absolute pleasure of heading to Mexico City for Formula E’s 2022 ePrix, and while there, I had the most delightful cocktail. I didn’t speak enough Spanish to be able to ask what it was, but a quick Google search upon returning home gave me the answers I need. It was a spicy grapefruit paloma.

I tried the recipe linked above at home and found it was pretty dang close to what I had in Mexico. The chili simple syrup is divine. My only change is subbing the sugar-salt rim for a chili salt rim — or, if you can manage it, a tajin rim. It’s the perfect mix of sweet, tangy, and salty, and my god, my mouth is watering just thinking of it.

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Brazilian Grand Prix: Leite de Onça

Brazilian Grand Prix: Leite de Onça

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In my last foray into F1 drinking, I recommended the classic caipirinha for the Brazilian Grand Prix, and I’m going to stand by it again — but only because I recently had a caipirinha that blended cachaça with sake and a strawberry-kiwi purée. My god was it good.

I’m also going to recommend the leite de onça, which translates to “jaguar’s milk” and is sometimes called the Brazilian Alexander. You blend cachaça, cream, cocoa liqueur, and sweetened condensed milk to create something that looks innocuous but can absolutely knock you off your feet — hence the name.

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Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Mint Lemonade

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Mint Lemonade

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If the 2022 season finale ends up like the 2021 event, this may be a race that calls for literally any straight alcohol that you have on hand. But if you want to stay local, then I recommend mixing your favorite spirit into Dubai’s delicious mint lemonade.

The recipe is simple — just absolutely demolish your regular lemonade with ground-up mint for a refreshing drink. You can blend up crushed ice if you want a more smoothie-like texture. And if you want to pop in a liquor of choice, I wouldn’t blame you. I like my lemonade mixed with rum or bourbon to give a rounded edge to the lemon-y kick, but my husband tends to go for flavored vodkas and gins. Here in Texas, we have Seersucker gin that comes in a delightful lemon flavor that would pair well with this mint lemonade. Another local vodka distiller, Deep Eddy, has a sweet tea vodka that pairs well with lemonade. I leave it up to your refined palate to decide.

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