One of the idiosyncrasies of drinking at baseball games is that the obvious choice -- beer -- is almost always the worst value. Our friend paid $9 for a small-looking plastic cup of Anchor Steam; a six-pack at BevMo is $8. But beer isn't the only thing on tap at AT&T Park.
We weren't planning to get a ballpark mojito until we noticed the tap system in a thatch-roofed booth behind center field. Then we had to try it.
"Are these muddled?" we ask the guy behind the counter. "$10.50," he says. That's not even a 50 percent markup over bar prices. We pay the money and take our chances.
We're put off by the "Mood Mix'r" hippie logo on the Giants-orange plastic cup. It reminds us of the fleece-the-tourist trade in the Haight for those who think the '60s are ongoing.
But we're seduced by the flecks of green mint leaves that flow from the tap. How come they don't clog the pipes? Who chops up the mint and puts it in the tank? Is there a tank?
We ask these questions, but the most definitive answer we get is "$10.50," though not impolitely. Because MLB has decided baseball isn't loud enough, it's hard to hear at the center field concession stands over public-address announcements unless, ironically, the game is actually being played. And what real fan goes to get a mojito on tap then?
So how is the drink?
Sweet and syrupy, it first reminds us of the kind of "iced tea" that flows out of Coke dispensers when the water isn't correctly calibrated.
We make a quick stop at Orlando's Caribbean BBQ for some sliced limes.
We add three sliced limes, squeezing them and then throwing them in, and that helps a lot. Eventually we also add the two limes we had originally put atop our Cha Cha Bowl. We can't say what the perfect number of additional limes for this mojito is, but five is a good start.
Our views on the on-tap mojito change frequently as the lime juice slowly flows down. First we think it's still too syrupy; then a wave of fresh lime juice hits the straw and it's acceptable. Then it's too much mixer. But then, we're at the ballpark having a Mood Mix'r cocktail, and isn't that a huge step forward for American society? Love, hate, denial, acceptance: It's just like a Barry Zito start, only much more affordable.