In terms of things to consume at a baseball game, sticky-sweet alcoholic mixed drinks in pouches make about as much sense as hot dogs jammed into novelty shoes. In 2018, though, Instagram kitsch rules over common sense, so this season will see the debut of a “District Coolers” stand at Nats Park, selling mixed drinks in plastic bags with a bendy straw for $14 each.
There are exactly three traditional vessels for consuming hard liquor at a living sporting event: a cheap plastic cup like all other stadium drinks; a bottle of soda or Gatorade brought into the park pre-mixed with a spirit; or a flask. None of those call for a beverage in a transparent, squishy, soft-sided container.
Taste-wise, the drinks are fine for what they’re trying to be—fruity, sugary potions suited for day drinking, in flavors like pineapple tequila cooler, blueberry mojito, raspberry gin rickey, black cherry sling, and electric lemonade. Consuming them out of a sack does not improve them in any way.
The pouches also present logistical questions, most of them centering around cup-holders. The design also conjures the longstanding relationship between Capri Sun pouches and bees.
In a further indignity, the Nationals have chosen to remove a fan-favorite soft-sided pouch-like stadium snack, Pinch Dumplings, at the same time they’re introducing this one.
The team insists, however, that the excellent beer program will remain in place, even expanding from two to four taps dedicated to small local breweries. Unlike liquor, beer will continue to be served only in cups, not in novelty baseballs or plastic pouches or plastic replicas of Bryce Harper’s glorious hair.
The home opener is set for April 5 versus the Mets.