Unless you golf often, or know a frequent golfer, when thinking of the drinks enjoyed most often on the course, your first guess likely wouldn’t be something with grape juice. Maybe you would think of beer, or perhaps even a John Daly, that boozy take on the classic half lemonade half iced tea, a.k.a. an Arnold Palmer. But if you’ve spent any time on the links, you’re probably familiar with golf’s most popular drink — the Transfusion.
This light purple, bubbly concoction is the necessary drink for many to sip on during or after a round of golf to cool off, which is perhaps why it’s earned the unofficial distinction of Golf’s Greatest Drink. If you’re not a golfer, there’s no need to worry, the Transfusion is perfect for all types of summertime enjoyment. Read on for five things you need to know about the Transfusion drink.
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Where did the Transfusion drink come from?
While the true origins of the Transfusion are unknown, the cocktail was known to be a favorite of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and if his word is to be trusted, he’s the true inventor of the Transfusion. It is said that upon retirement, President Eisenhower would enjoy a Transfusion following his daily round of golf at either the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia or the Eldorado Country Club in California. Now, millions of golfers have followed in the former president’s footsteps by enjoying a Transfusion (or three) after their 18th hole.
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Why is it called a Transfusion?
It’s impossible to confirm where the name Transfusion came from, but it’s widely believed to be derived from the drink’s origin as a hangover remedy. With ginger and slight carbonation to soothe any nausea, grape juice for electrolytes, and vodka to serve as a hair of the dog, the cocktail is rumored to work wonders the day after having one too many, making you feel like you actually have received a life-sustaining transfusion.
What is the Transfusion drink made of?
Served in a highball glass, the Transfusion is simple in its composition, consisting of just vodka, ginger ale, and grape juice. While its ingredient list may be short, if the proportions are incorrect, you could wind up with a cocktail far from the refreshing mixture you’re expecting. The secret to nailing the proportions, and avoiding a drink that tastes like it came right out of a juice box, is to treat the grape juice like you would simple syrup — only adding enough to offer a hint of color and flavor. And while any boxed or bottled grape juice will do in a pinch, concord grape juice is believed to be the best.
Why is the Transfusion a popular golf drink?
There are no rules as to where a Transfusion should be enjoyed, but the place you’re likely to hear it ordered most often is out on the golf course. As golf is a warm-weather, outdoor sport, most golfers are likely to spend a few afternoons sweating out in the sun on the course in need of a drink equal parts refreshing and delicious, for which the cocktail is the perfect pick-me-up.
Furthermore, due to the low number of ingredients involved in making a Transfusion, the cocktail has, at least in part, likely gained its popularity in golf because it’s just so easy to make. One woman who previously operated a golf course beverage cart recalled that the Transfusion was in the top three most ordered drinks by golfers on the course. Because the beverage cart out by the 9th hole doesn’t have a traditional, fully-stocked bar, the Transfusion is a perfect way to enjoy a great cocktail without too much fuss.
How do you make a Transfusion drink? (Recipe)
- 2 ounces vodka
- 1 ounce grape juice
- 4 ounces ginger ale
- Garnish: lime wedge
- Fill a highball glass with ice. Add vodka and grape juice.
- Stir for 3-5 seconds.
- Top with ginger ale.
- Add a lime wedge for garnish.