The Cal Raleigh

The Cal Raleigh is a Southern Comfort drink that is best drunk outside on a summery baseball day.

One of my friends from junior high and high school (the accomplished author Mark A. Henry), knowing my love of baseball, texted me to say that his cousin’s son plays baseball for our local minor league team, The Tacoma Rainiers, and would I like to go to a game sometime?

Yes, please!!!

His cousin’s name is Cal Raleigh, and he was generous enough to leave me tickets for not just one game, but for two! Cal’s been generating buzz for weeks now, as a catcher and hitter. He’s doing a great job of working with his pitchers, slugging at the plate, and showing real fire and confidence.

Yer Outta Here

Here’s something that makes him fun to watch: Recently, behind the plate, Cal registered a seemingly small but reasonable amount of displeasure when the umpire missed the call on a down-the-middle strike. Many players might have let it go; there was only one out left in the game, and the Rainiers were losing badly anyway. This call seemingly wouldn’t have made a difference, but it wasn’t right, and Cal said something.

Many umpires might have let that go too, but the ump ejected him, and then Cal really went to town. This display of loyalty to his pitcher must be a shot in the arm (no pandemic pun intended, I swear) to his teammates. Plus, it’s fun. I love fire like that! This play was celebrated throughout the Mariners’ organization, including by Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez, and became national baseball news.

On top of this, Cal’s been working on a hitting streak; at the time he agreed to leave tickets for me, he’d had a hit in 18 games in a row. Impressive!

Play Ball!

This was one of our first big post-pandy outings. It felt important, and odd, to be venturing so far from the house. And fun, and mysterious in some ways, as we wondered what to expect. It was also Max’s first baseball game ever, and it was all great.

We saw stolen bases, a reversed home run, legit home runs, fireworks, an ejection, more pitching changes than I’ve ever heard of, extra innings, a Manfred Runner for the first time in person, a walk-off win, and more! Cal continued his hitting streak on both nights, for a total so far of 22 consecutive games.

I noticed that although Mark and I grew up in New England, Cal was born in North Carolina. His walk-up song was a country one that mentioned cowboys.

Tip of the Cap

To celebrate Cal and this super fun experience, my thoughts of course turned to a cocktail in his name. I thought I might have just the thing: Southern Comfort, sweetened up to taste like a fun summer day at the ballpark.

It’s probable that I haven’t had Southern Comfort since the 80s, except for one going-away party in 2004. I wasn’t too confident about this, but it worked! Leftover cinnamon-and-sugar mixture from one of Max’s virtual cooking classes blended well with the SoCo. I melted it down into a simple syrup, because otherwise it was a bit grainy and flaky. For some reason, the cinnamon makes the simple syrup thick, almost like applesauce, but it did exactly what I wanted it to do. You know how I hate a crunchy, toothy beverage, folks!

I added some bitters too, because Why Not!

It was perfect: fresh and cool and sweet and fun.

Go Rainiers! Go Mariners! Go Cal!


  • 3 oz. Southern Comfort

  • 3 oz. Triple Sec

  • Juice of 1 lime, with a slice for garnish

  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon & Sugar Simple Syrup

  • Approx 15 drops of Japanese Chili Lime Bitters

  • Cinnamon & Sugar Simple Syrup
  • 1/3 c. or less (I used half that) Cinnamon & sugar mixture

  • 1/3 cup water


  • Boil cinnamon & sugar mixture with water for a minute or long enough so that it is not grainy or flaky with cinnamon. It will rise and thicken to look like applesauce, and even get a little cloudy-looking; this is fine. I don’t know why, and it doesn’t look like any other simple syrup I’ve seen, but it’s fine.
  • Shake the liquids over ice.
  • Pour over ice in a jelly glass and drink it outside, if possible.
  • Play ball!

Look who’s interested in cocktails now…

Pabu the dog waits nearby, hoping for a cocktail.

Pabu’s always been one to want to be involved in everything, but since the invention of dog cocktails at our house, he won’t leave my side when the shaker comes out.

Enjoyed on June 16, 2021


  1. ELIZABETH A. DENOMA06/17/2021 | Reply

    If only they served something like at the ballpark, too. Thanks Maura, for taking me and Max on this adventure. And thanks Mark and Cal for the tickets! Go, Rainiers!

    • admin06/17/2021 | Reply

      Yeah, it was so fun! And two wins! And a hitting streak extended - twice!

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