Ever since Southern Soul Barbeque, a favorite local hangout on St. Simons Island, Georgia, expanded its outdoor bar earlier this year, more sports fans have been showing up to catch games. And never more so than right now, while the Atlanta Braves are battling it out with the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Division Series. Just to make sure there’s no question about its loyalties, the bar released a decidedly pro-Braves new drink dubbed the Phillie Killer.
The ingredients alone—Georgia-produced rye whiskey plus peanuts and Coca-Cola—give away the home-state bias. “I’ve been a big Braves fan my whole life,” says Southern Soul co-owner Griffin Bufkin, “and we have a fun crowd that comes and watches the games with us. So coming up with a cocktail for the playoffs was a no-brainer.”
Bufkin plumbed baseball memories for the drink’s components. “When I was kid, we had a coach named Junior who was straight out of The Bad News Bears,” he says. “He put his peanuts into his Coke bottle, and we just figured that was so he could have a free hand to smoke his cigar.”
Bufkin eventually realized that Coach Junior and many other like-minded Southerners were onto something. “Coke and peanuts deliver that classic sweet-salty combination, and I chose to add rye because it has a bold flavor profile that isn’t as sweet as bourbon and stands up to the Coke,” he says. “I like how the peanuts cut through the fizz and keep their crunch to the end.”
As for the trash-talking name, Bufkin explains, “Whenever a player on an opposing team is doing well against the Braves, we call them a Brave Killer. So for this series we turned the tables and called our drink the Phillie Killer.”
So how long does he expect to be serving the special libation? “I tell you what, the Phillies played some real good ball that first game,” Bufkin says, “but we came right back at them the second game. I think we can hit some balls and hopefully finish this up in four games. Then the Phillie Killer becomes a Dodger Killer or Padre Killer.”