Liquid assets: Cocktails created for giants of journalism, Ley and Schaap

Bob Ley (L) and Jeremy Schaap now have cocktails in their honor, courtesy of Schaap’s sister, Rosie. (Molly Mita/ESPN)

EDITOR’S NOTE: With the relaunches of Outside the Lines and E:60 on tap for Sunday and Monday, Front Row asks you to belly up to the bar and enjoy a sip of specially-commissioned cocktails celebrating the shows’ popular hosts, Bob Ley and Jeremy Schaap. And who better to be the straw the stirs these divine drinks than Jeremy’s younger sister, Rosie Schaap? She is, after all, the author of the memoir, “Drinking With Men,” named one of the best books of 2013 by Library Journal and National Public Radio. Rosie was the “Drink” columnist for The New York Times Magazine from 2011 to 2017, and has also written for Food & Wine, Lucky Peach, Saveur, The New York Times Book Review, and Travel + Leisure, among others. Her essays have appeared in anthologies including “Here She Comes Now: Women in Music Who Have Changed Our Lives,” and “Tales of Two Cities: The Best and Worst of Times in Today’s New York.”

My hope was to create a single cocktail to celebrate the launch of the new E:60, but that wasn’t possible. Bob and Jeremy are both old-fashioned guys, each in his own way, so my initial impulse was to offer a recipe for a classic old fashioned (the best of all cocktails, really) and leave it at that. But that felt a little cheap.

I also considered riffing on their terrific coverage during the long, sad night Muhammad Ali died. But Ali was a teetotaler, so that seemed inappropriate. Of course, I thought about their reporting on FIFA, but who wants to think about Sepp Blatter when enjoying a cocktail?

Ultimately, I knew I had to make a little more work for myself. Bob deserves a drink of his own. And so does Jeremy. They’ve got much in common as reporters – humor, integrity, and persistence come to mind – but their differences are what will make them great co-hosts. So here are two special cocktails with which to toast them, and the show.

For Bob Ley: Bloomfield Sour

A cross between a rum sour and a New York Sour, this cocktail named for Bob’s hometown combines rum (I was thinking about that time in Cuba, when Bob was interrupted by a demonstrator during a live report) and port — because Bob would really rather be drinking wine. The combination of rum and port may sound discordant, but it’s not: The two liquids have happily mingled in classic punch recipes for ages.

This cocktail would be excellent before one of Bob’s favorite dinners: “. . . finely aged London Broils, seared over impossibly hot grills, done to a fine medium rare temperature, topped with pink Himalayan salt and allowed to contemplate their futures, undisturbed, upon the serving platter.” With the steak, Bob should certainly drink what he loves most: a big, full-throated red wine.

For Jeremy Schaap: The Fitzcarraldo

I’ve been proud of many moments in my brother’s career — most of all the work he has done to expose human rights violations in Qatar. But he’s also a guy who appreciates the arts, and we share an abiding love for the films of Werner Herzog. I like to think that when Jeremy was reporting from Manaus during the 2014 World Cup, he mentioned Herzog more than any sports reporter before or since, and this made me proud, too. (He also once made it possible for me to meet the auteur, an unforgettable encounter during which Herzog talked to me about maggots that taste like whipped cream, and I nearly had an out-of-body experience).

The Fitzcarraldo is named for one of Herzog’s greatest films, starring the crazed genius Klaus Kinski as the title character, who dreams of building an opera house in the Amazon basin. Some of the film’s scenes were shot in Manaus, hence the city’s Herzog connection. I’d considered a variation on the Grasshopper — to memorialize the enormous insects that attacked Jeremy during his reporting from the Amazon — but decided instead on something stronger and stranger, making use of the Brazilian spirit cachaça, and a small measure of absinthe for a spark of Kinskiesque madness. All the green stuff stands in for the bugs.

Front Row and Rosie encourage you to drink responsibly and, if you’re so inclined, to drink during Outside the Lines (weekdays, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN) or E:60 (Sundays, 9 a.m., ESPN).

Rosie Schaap (Photo: M. Sharkey/Courtesy of Rosie Schaap)
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