You’re killin’ me, Smalls!
Themed cocktails printed on unique menus aren’t anything new. But serving alcoholic drinks built around a ‘90s cult classic kids film? If your nostalgia for the baseball flick The Sandlot leaves you yearning for a tipple, a bar in Pittsburgh has pulled off a grand slam.
Smallman Galley isn’t your typical restaurant. The “incubator of sorts” for up-and-coming culinary talent offers up four different restaurant concepts and two bars (one for booze, one for beans) in a single 200 seat location with chefs rotating through the space’s four fully outfitted kitchens every twelve months. Though the management of the bar is more consistent, Smallman also works to bring a similar level of innovation to their cocktail menu. “Our original bar director named all of our opening cocktails after old school hip hop albums, which accidentally set into motion us only doing themed menus,” said current Bar Program Director Tim Garso. “Last summer we did Pittsburgh Pirates-themed puns, before moving into drinks named after tracks from the various Tony Hawk Pro skater soundtracks.”
Okay, but how do you end up at The Sandlot? “While every menu holds a special place in our hearts, we all probably loved the Pirates pun menu the most,” Garso explained. “We’re all big baseball nerds, so that was a lot of fun to create. When we were brainstorming summer menu ideas, we kept talking about that menu and baseball and summer, but didn’t want to get too repetitive. So instead, we decided to pay homage to everyone’s favorite childhood baseball movie, The Sandlot (Sorry, Little Big League!).”
The next question, of course, is what kind of cocktails can you make from a kid’s baseball flick? “The L7 Weenie,” named after a quote in the movie, is Beefeater Gin, Port, Guava, Lemon, Honey, Mint. Then there’s “Vincent’s Drugstore,” named after where the Sandlot boys bought baseballs, made from Singani63, Boomsma Cloosterbitter, Bauchant Orange Liqueur, White Vermouth. But probably most interesting of all is “The Great Spambino.” More than just a tribute to Babe Ruth (who’s legacy plays prominently in the movie), but to Garso’s Hawaiian heritage as well using Spam-Washed Wigle Organic Rye Whiskey, Pineapple, Nori, Wigle Mole Bitters.
The coolest part of this cocktail menu, however, might be the menu itself which is presented on a real VHS case. “There’s something very nostalgic about the sensory experience of holding and opening that type of VHS case,” Garso told Food Republic. “It’s probably been a decade since most of us have picked up a VHS, but as soon as you hold that case, you’re transported back to your childhood.” It’s enough to leave you wondering if The Sandlot is streaming on Netflix.