October 6, 1945 was the day the Curse of the Billy Goat was inflicted upon the Chicago Cubs and in recognition of that event we’ll be mixing the Chicago Cocktail. It was game 4 of the 1945 World Series, and the Cubs not only lost that series but didn’t play again in the World Series for the next 71 years. An ominous time indeed for Chicago. Here we’ll cover how it happened, how the curse was broken, and how to drink to it with the Chicago cocktail.
The Curse of the Billy Goat
In 1934 a Greek immigrant, Billy Sianis, founded the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago. He also had a pet goat named Murphy. We don’t know if he had to buy a separate ticket for the beast, but he brought said goat to game 4 of the 1945 World Series at Wrigley Field.
Murphy was apparently bothering some nearby fans and the pair were asked to leave. Sianis was livid and declared, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” So began the Curse of the Billy Goat.
The Cubs had been up 2-1 before this fourth game. But they ended up losing that game and the series to the Detroit Tigers. The curse didn’t end there. In one event a stray black cat walked between Cubs captain Ron Santo, who was on deck, and the Cubs dugout. The Cubs lost that critical playoff game.
There were many attempts along the way to break the curse. Bill Sianis himself sent his nephew to Wrigley Field with a goat on several occasions. Fans read scrolls. A Greek Orthodox priest sprayed holy water around the Cubs dugout. A fan group calling themselves Crack the Curse walked from Arizona to Wrigley Field with a goat named Wrigley. Reminiscent of The Godfather, a severed goats head was delivered to the Cubs. None of these seem to have worked.
The Cubs, in fact, didn’t even play again in the World Series for 71 years after the curse. It wasn’t until 2016 that the curse vanished when they defeated the LA Dodgers in the playoffs and went on to win the series against the Cleveland Indians. That playoff win was actually on the 46th anniversary of Sianis’ death and an unknown number of years after that of Murphy the Goat. So don’t mess with goats.
The Chicago Cocktail
Whether you love or hate the Cubs, we can’t deny that Chicago has a rich drinking history. After all, it’s where Harry Johnson, the creator of the Bijou cocktail, had his bar. And, of course, Al Capone consumed plenty of Southside cocktails there during Prohibition.
To honor the city itself and its baseball team we’re mixing the drink named directly after it, the Chicago cocktail. Apparently mixed as far back as the late 19th century, the drink was first published in Harry Craddock’s 1930 work, The Savoy Cocktail Book. Chicago restaurant critic John Drury noted it had been served at the American Bar in Nice and the Embassy Club in London.
Some versions, including Craddock’s, call for Champagne. Others do not, so it is optional. Our suggestion is to include a sparkling wine if the Cubs win or at least make it to the World Series. If they do not we’d leave it out. If you’re feeling particularly dour about the Cubs you could always substitute Jeppson’s Malört, Chicago’s proudly unpalatable local spirit, but you’re really on your own there.
- Nick and Nora or coupe glass
- 2 oz Brandy or Cognac
- 1 dash Cointreau just a wee bit
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Champagne or other sparkling wine to top
- Add brandy or Cognac, Cointreau and Angostura bitters to your trusty mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir to chill.
- Strain into pre-chilled cocktail glass.
- Top with Champagne or other sparkling wine.
- Pour in the direction of your liver.