The World Cup in Five (Illustrated) Cocktails

Heading into the final round of World Cup matches, heavy drinking is sure to ensue—whether in celebration or consolation. Illustrator John Perry Yates imagines the final face-offs through cocktails (plus a few in retrospect) as soccer writer Ty Duffy offers analysis on what's to come.

Jules Rimet: Argentina v. Germany

This mano-a-mano recipe is nothing more than a picon-bière in which hearty, chocolatey Doppelbock stands up to Fernet Branca's—a favorite amaro of the Argentinians—bitter kick. [Recipe]

Consolation Prize: Brazil v. Netherlands

Cachaça and genever are not the easiest pairing, but in the right ratio, malty genever and oaky aged cachaça combine to create a near-whiskey flavor. Maybe not the perfect cocktail, but good enough for third place. [Recipe]

Knob Kriek: USA v. Belgium

This distant relative of the John Collins pairs sweet, oaky bourbon with the tart funky cherries of a traditional Belgian brew. In the match-up, the King of Beers capitulated willingly to Belgian overlordship. An American bourbon would do anything but. [Recipe]

Tico Kafés: Greece v. Costa Rica

This drink mixes the anise flavor of Greek ouzo with Costa Rican coffee, similar to Italy's caffè coretto alla sambuca. The coffee will revive you after watching these teams play. The Ouzo will help you forget you did. [Recipe]

Obispo: Brazil v. Chile

One of a dozen variations of the "red-wine-citrus-and-sometimes-rum" Bishop cocktail—a favorite of Dickens. This one swaps rum for Brazil's national spirit, cachaça. [Recipe]

It’s been five weeks of non-stop World Cup, and if you don’t have the beginnings of a beer gut by now, you’re doing something wrong. As the final matches commence, stocking the refrigerator with some cold German pilsner would not be a bad idea. Neither would breaking open a bottle of Fernet Branca—in honor of Argentina’s Italian amaro addiction—and mixing it with Coke.

As rapt fans around the world have watched their countries win, lose or advance, they’ve all had something cold in their hands—whether for consolation or celebration. Brooklyn-based illustrator John Perry Yates spent his fútbol watching days compiling a log of each face-off and the drinking habits of its respective countries. The result is his imaginative illustrated guide to 2014’s sporting event of the year—via drinks. Yates, a cocktail book nerd and graphic designer, has a knack for charming memes (see his Genealogy of Things series), including turning the Cup into cocktails.

To accompany Yates’s recipes and images, soccer correspondent and senior writer Ty Duffy of The Big Lead offers his expert analysis of three games from the series, plus a bit on what’s to come this weekend with the third place match-up of Brazil v. Netherlands and the title game between Argentina and Germany.

Match: Argentina v. Germany | Drink: Jules Rimet
It’s their third meeting in the World Cup Final since 1986—and the first in the reasonably-sized shorts era. The world’s best player, Lionel Messi, will line up against, perhaps, the world’s best national team. Diego Maradona may need to squeeze in an emergency round of liposuction before this match. Expect it to be full-bodied with a bit of a kick, like Rudi Völler’s mustache—or a Doppelbock and Fernet shandy.

Match: Brazil v. Netherlands | Drink: Consolation Prize
Brazil received the most violent stomach punch in World Cup history, losing 7-1 at home to Germany. The Dutch, after a hard-fought 120-minute stalemate, surrendered meekly on penalties. FIFA, ever charitable, has offered them one more chance to play, for nothing. This could be compelling, carefree and fun. It could be loathsome. If you have not had quite enough soccer the past month, give it a whirl. Medicate with genever and cachaça.

Match: USA v. Belgium | Drink: Knob Kriek
The talented Belgians stormed the U.S. defense with every ounce of flash and frivolity. Resolute American goalkeeper Tim Howard, in one of the World Cup’s defining performances, manned the barricades with resolve for the first 90 minutes, stopping an incredible 16 shots on target. The King of Beers capitulated willingly to Belgian overlordship. An American bourbon would do anything but.

Match: Greece v. Costa Rica | Drink: Tico Kafés
Costa Rica stymied some of soccer’s greatest stars playing a high defensive line. The Greeks, perpetually partying like it’s Euro 2004, were fielding a cynical, suffocating defense before it was cool. Their matches, in an otherwise fun World Cup, conveyed all the romance and joie de vivre of a trip to the DMV. The coffee will revive you, after watching these teams play. The Ouzo will help you forget you did. 

Match: Brazil v. Chile | Drink: Obispo Cocktail
Chile came a crossbar shot away from eliminating Brazil in the Round of 16. Many neutrals outside the host nation wish they had. The Brazilians wore their customary Canary yellow shirts but, beyond that, exhibited little of the samba sensibility and simple elegance of their predecessors. Their performance was forceful and notable with a spot of awkwardness, sort of like a train wreck, Metal Machine Music or a cocktail made with red wine and cachaça.

Ty Duffy is a Michigan Man and a Senior Writer at The Big Lead.