Spirits and cocktails are to golf what Tiger Woods is to a red golf shirt on a Sunday afternoon. Whether members are enjoying a round with buddies at the turn, or soothing their spirits after a rough 18, certain cocktails have become iconic at the 19th hole.
If these libations aren’t on your menu yet, consider running an “oldie but goodie” for members to enjoy.
Named after the beautiful pink flowers that bloom every April at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club, the Azalea has become the unofficial drink of the Masters Tournament. Try running the Azalea as a special for members next year during the Masters. (Insider tip: The Azalea pairs surprisingly well with pimento cheese sandwiches.)
Recipe: Pour 2 ozs. vodka, 2 ozs. pineapple juice, 1 oz. lemon juice and a spoonful of grenadine into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake then strain into a tall glass over ice. Garnish with lemon.
The ever-trendy Transfusion is the golf cocktail of the moment. While its origins are unknown, rumor has it Dwight D. Eisenhower regularly drank transfusions at his club in Palm Desert, Calif., after his presidency. If it’s good enough to lubricate the general’s golf swing, it’s probably good enough for your members, too.
Recipe: Combine 3 ozs. vodka, 1.5 ozs. grape juice, and .25 oz. lime juice. Pour over ice. Top with ginger ale. Garnish, if desired.
3. Whiskey Sour
Few cocktails can stand the test of time as well as the classic whiskey sour, especially on the links. Its three-ingredient simplicity—whiskey, lemon and sugar— perfectly balance sweet and sour notes, thus keeping it as a mainstay in club cocktail culture.
Recipe: Combine 2 ozs. whiskey, .75 oz. lemon juice and 1.2 oz. simple syrup in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain into rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with thick-cut lemon twist and cherry.
4. John Daly
Also known as the spiked Arnold Palmer, the John Daly is a refreshing combination of lemonade, iced tea, and vodka. Made popular at the Whiskey Creek Golf Course in Fort Myers, Fla., add this to your menu and encourage your members to “grip it and sip it,” before they “grip it and rip it.”
Recipe: Fill a large highball glass with ice. Add 1.5 ozs. vodka, 2 ozs. iced tea, and 2 ozs. of lemonade. Gently stir. Garnish with a lemon slice.
5. Moscow Mule
This stubbornly durable cocktail is refreshingly simple and can be adjusted in an infinite number of ways. For your next member-guest, host a Moscow Mule Bar complete with Classic Mules, Blood Orange Mules, Peach Mules, Mule Infusions, Fall Mules, Blackberry Mules, Pear Mules, Tropical Mules—and any other variation you can dream up.
Recipe: Fill a copper mug or similarly sized glass with ice. Pour in 2 ozs. vodka and .5 oz. lime juice. Fill the glass with 4 ozs. ginger beer and gently swirl it with a spoon once to mix. Garnish with a lime wedge.
6. Sweet “Tee” Mule
Sweet tea vodka mixed with ginger beer and garnished with sugared blackberries is the newest darling in the golf cocktail arena. While it hasn’t been around as long as others, its popularity extends well beyond the course and is as delightful on pool cocktail menus as off the beverage cart.
Recipe: Quickly dip each blackberry into simple syrup and then into sugar, rolling fruit across sugar to coat evenly. Thread a garnish stick with blackberries; set aside. Combine 2 ozs. sweet tea vodka with 2 ozs. ginger beer in a copper mug. Add crushed ice, two squeezes of lime and stir to combine. Garnish with reserved blackberries.
7. Bloody Mary
The Bloody Mary is the quintessential savory cocktail. It’s popular at the 19th hole, during brunch and from beverage carts, too. Its flavor profile and appearance shift depending on the garnishes, but the best Bloody Marys are built with quality ingredients and finished with lots of flair.
Recipe: Combine 2 ozs. vodka, 4 ozs. tomato juice, .25 oz. lemon juice, 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce, 3 dashes of Tabasco sauce, 1 tsp. horseradish, a pinch of celery salt and a pinch of black pepper in a mixing glass with ice, and pour back and forth into another mixing glass three times. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with celery stalk, lime wedge and cocktail olives on a skewer.
8. Bourbon Old Fashioned
The Old Fashioned is the perfect post-round libation. Strong and sophisticated, this cocktail is ready for thirsty golfers eyeing the menu for dinner (or counting the cash they sharked from that last long putt on the 18th green).
Recipe: Combine ½ tsp. sugar with 3 dashes of Angostura bitters in a rocks glass. Add 1 tsp. water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Fill the glass with large ice cubes, add 2 ozs. bourbon and gently stir to combine. Express the oil of an orange peel over the glass, then drop it into the glass to garnish.
The connection between Glenmorangie, golf and the Royal Dornoch Golf Club (Sutherland, Scotland) can’t be overlooked. The distillery is located close to the course and golf historians have given Glenmorangie the unofficial title as “The Spirit of the Open Championship.”
Recipe: Serve neat or on the rocks.
10. Mother-of-Pearl Gin and Tonic
This classic gin and tonic is enhanced with brisk and aromatic celery flavors in three different ways: in a salt rim, in the bitters, and in the garnish. Like the Azalea, the Mother-of-Pearl is popular at the Masters—and beyond.
Recipe: Mix 1 tbsp. kosher and 1 tsp. celery salts on a plate. Dip the rim of an old-fashioned glass in water and then in salts. Add ice, ½ oz. gin, and 2 dashes of celery bitters. Top with 3 ozs. tonic. Garnish with celery sprig and fennel frond.