8 of the Most Iconic Cocktails Tied to Sporting Events


Legendary Cocktails: The 8 Most Iconic Drinks Linked to Sporting Events

It’s a well-known fact that sporting events often go hand-in-hand with alcohol consumption. From the free-flowing beer in NFL and MLB stadiums across the nation to the official drink brands associated with sports teams, it’s clear that sipping on bubbles and brews while watching a game is a common practice. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that several spirits brands and event venues have crafted cocktails to enhance the spectator experience.

While some may assume that the realm of “official drinks” is limited to iconic beverages like the Kentucky Derby’s Mint Julep and the U.S. Open’s Honey Deuce, the truth is that many tournaments and competitions worldwide have their own designated cocktails, both official and unofficial. Join us as we explore eight cocktails with ties to sporting events.

The Masters: The Azalea Cocktail Taking place each April in Augusta, Georgia, the Masters is arguably the world’s most prestigious golf tournament. The 13th hole on the course is adorned with a vibrant display of blooming flowers, which inspired the tournament’s unofficial cocktail: the Azalea Cocktail. This delightful concoction comprises vodka, lemon juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine, resulting in a vivid pink hue reminiscent of the flowers that grace the green.

The Kentucky Derby: The Mint Julep

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The Mint Julep has shared an inseparable bond with the Kentucky Derby for nearly a century, having claimed the esteemed title of the race’s official cocktail. Rooted in tradition, this refreshing libation features Kentucky bourbon as its cornerstone, harmoniously blended with freshly muddled mint and a dash of simple syrup, resulting in a vibrant and invigorating summertime elixir. Traditionally presented in a silver cup designed to echo the coveted winner’s trophy, this iconic cocktail has graced the tables of Churchill Downs since the 1930s. In the present day, the Derby Weekend in May witnesses the sale of nearly 120,000 Mint Juleps, a testament to its enduring popularity.

Kentucky Oaks: The Lily Cocktail

While the Kentucky Derby unquestionably reigns supreme at Churchill Downs during the first weekend in May, a lesser-known horse race unfolds the day before—the Kentucky Oaks. This Friday event preceding the Derby bestows its victor not only with prize money but also a garland of lilies, thus giving birth to the event’s official libation: the Lily Cocktail. Crafted by the Kentucky Oaks’ official vodka sponsor, Grey Goose, this delightful drink draws inspiration from the Cosmopolitan. It marries Grey Goose with orange liqueur, cranberry juice, lemon juice, and a touch of simple syrup. The cocktail’s hue pays homage to the triumphant lily bouquet and pays tribute to the race’s affiliation with breast cancer awareness.

Preakness Stakes: The Black-Eyed Susan

The Preakness Stakes, held annually on the third Saturday in May at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course, takes its place as the second jewel in the Triple Crown series. Conceived in 1973 by Harry Stevens, a seasoned caterer at Pimlico, the Black-Eyed Susan has since reigned as the race’s official libation. It nods to Maryland’s state flower of the same name. Comprising peach schnapps, bourbon, vodka, orange juice, and sour mix, garnished with an orange slice and a cherry, this spirited concoction aligns perfectly with Preakness’s reputation as the “party race” within the Triple Crown.

The Belmont Stakes: The Belmont Jewel

With the first two Triple Crown races each boasting their own official cocktails, it is only fitting that the Belmont Stakes, the series’ grand finale, has its own signature drink. Forged in 2015, the Belmont Jewel, christened after the race’s status as the final gem in the Crown, marries Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of Belmont Park, with lemonade and pomegranate juice. Designed for ease of preparation in large quantities, this libation perfectly complements the celebratory spirit of the event.

The Indianapolis 500: The Pit Lane Lemonade

Legend has it that the Pit Lane Lemonade was conjured up by Indiana bartender Curtis Parker of Mudsocks Bar & Grill in Noblesville, Indiana. It serves as the unofficial cocktail of the monumental Indy 500, held annually over Memorial Day weekend. Comprising Limoncello, Grey Goose, and lemonade, the Indy 500 cocktail is not only easy to create but also effortless to savor—just remember, never indulge and drive.

Wimbledon: The Pimm’s Cup

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Dating back to the 1800s in England, the Pimm’s Cup was born from the creative mind of James Pimm. This delightful libation brings together Pimm’s gin-based liqueur, along with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale, and garnishes of cucumber, mint, and fresh fruit. Since its inception, this invigorating elixir has become a staple at Wimbledon, with the inaugural Pimm’s bar opening its doors at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1971. Each year, an astonishing 300,000 Pimm’s Cups are expertly crafted and enjoyed by patrons at this iconic British tournament.


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