The World Cup is not a cup? Help us fix that.
The original World Cup trophy was an actual cup. A French-designed beauty, it featured a figure reminiscent of the Nike of Samothrace, but with arms, holding aloft a gold decagonal chalice.
The lovely 14-inch gold-plated figurine, later named the Jules Rimet Trophy, had a raucous existence. During World War II, it was stashed in an ordinary shoebox and chucked under an Italian soccer official’s bed. It disappeared in England before the 1966 World Cup, missing until a heroic little dog named Pickles unearthed it while digging under a tree.
Brazil got to keep the trophy for good in 1970, after the team won its third championship, and a new prize was commissioned. The original trophy’s reign officially ended in flames after it was stolen yet again in Rio de Janeiro in 1983. It was believed to have been melted down by heartless thieves, who obviously didn’t understand, in the words of the Brazilian soccer federation president at the time, “the spiritual value of the cup is far greater than its material worth.”
The current FIFA World Cup trophy stands almost 15 inches tall and weighs a meltdown-worthy 13.5 pounds. The Italian-designed marvel of 18-karat gold depicts two humans holding up the earth. Beautiful. Inspiring. Heavy. And completely nonfunctional.
It’s not even a cup! How do we drink out of it? We joined The Banter with the understanding that there would be drinks. And so we are here to inaugurate The Banter’s first quadrennial celebration of “The World CupS,” to toast the sights and sounds from Russia with tastes from all over.
It’s a competition within the competition, with each national team represented by an iconic beverage from that country. Think France and a glass of Bordeaux. Or is it France and a flute of Champagne? Or a reservoir of absinthe? Help us decide.
We need 32 drinks for 32 countries. Is England a pint of bitters or a cup of tea? Is Croatia’s drink Slivovitz or Zinfandel, in honor of the grape’s roots there? When Brazil and Serbia meet on June 27, will you be drinking cachaça or rakija? What about Iran and Saudi Arabia, where booze is verboten?
Think this through. Vote with your taste buds. Lots of work ahead, folks.
Tweet @jeffdmarcus and us — @ChipSellarole and @TammyKennon — with the hashtag #WorldCupS, or email The Banter.
We’ll take your nominations and create The World CupS drink bracket to be unveiled before the opening match. Each game, a new drink-to-drink matchup. Then, eventually, on a sweltering day in July, we will raise our CupS filled with the winning country’s drink of choice.
Jeffrey asked us to do this because he enjoys drinking with us. He was there when we started Chip’s Wine & Beer Market in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, still thriving under new owners.
Chip has been in the wine/beer/spirits biz since Argentina last won the World Cup. He is passionate, inspiring, a veritable encyclopedia of hooch knowledge — and radically snob-free.
Tammy is a career journalist with serious street cred, covering hurricanes and freediving and Parisian street art. More importantly, she once brewed a beer that made GQ’s list of 50 beers to drink before you die (Compass Rose).
Salud! Fee Sahitkum! Mma manu! Geonbae! Prost!
— Chip and Tammy