Success stories are few and far between when it comes to pinning a signature cocktail on a sporting event. Many fans are content sipping a frothy beer, hard seltzer, or canned cocktail in their seats during the action, so it can be difficult for a spirits brand to break through stadium drinking norms and win over fans with a new concoction. Sure, it can be done: The Kentucky Derby’s iconic Mint Julep and Wimbledon’s Pimm’s Cup each have decades of history behind them, making them well-established traditions. But there’s really only one cocktail that has made its mark on a modern sporting event enough to become ubiquitous in recent years, and that’s the U.S. Open’s Honey Deuce.

While the Mint Julep became the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby in 1939 and the Pimm’s Cup landed at Wimbledon in 1971, the history of the Honey Deuce only begins in 2006 when U.S. Open sponsor Grey Goose set out to create a specialty drink that could promote its brand courtside. The company called on beverage professional and cocktail book author Nick Mautone to construct a cocktail that would be easy to make on-site, refreshing in the August heat, and easily recognizable to be served at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, N.Y.,  during the annual games.

With these directives in mind, Mautone whipped up a mixture of Grey Goose vodka, lemonade, and raspberry liqueur. But what put the cocktail over the top was the garnish of three frozen honeydew melon spheres that mimicked the tournament’s neon green tennis balls. The cocktail gets its name from this garnish, and the game’s term for a tied 40–40 score. With its intriguing title and visual appeal, the Honey Deuce accomplished Grey Goose’s goal of drawing the attention of the U.S. Open crowd.

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The cocktail continues to grow in popularity every year, with over 400,000 sold at the 2022 tournament alone — that’s more than 1.2 million honeydew melon balls — and almost 2 million sold since the cocktail debuted in 2007. Two years ago, one Honey Deuce was purchased on-site every 3.8 seconds, according to the brand. It’s hard to say what exactly propelled the Honey Deuce to full-blown signature-drink status, but it seems more than possible that social media has played a role. The drink’s bright pink color and theatrical use of honeydew melon certainly stand out on Instagram.

The Honey Deuce has even managed to transcend its status as a stadium exclusive. When tennis fans flock to NYC to watch the games in late August and early September each year, local bars and restaurants will often add the cocktail to their menus. It seems like more and more of-the-moment cocktail haunts hop on the trend with every tournament: Chic bars like Jac’s on Bond and Dante currently offer riffs on the drink, and The Rockaway Hotel + Spa in Queens even has Grey Goose-sponsored Ping-Pong tables so you can replicate the tournament’s action with a Honey Deuce in hand. Even Michelin-starred Korean steakhouse Cote got into the spirit this year with its own take on the iconic drink. Principal bartender Sondre Kasin wanted to keep the cocktail’s crisp and vibrant flavors, while adding some bitterness and complexity: The Break Point is a highball made with Grey Goose vodka, Martini & Rossi Bitter, lemon, simple syrup, and cranberry juice. While it does include honeydew melon balls, of course, Cote’s are pickled for an added layer of character.

Even though it’s a relative newcomer, there’s no denying that its massive popularity has earned the Honey Deuce a spot in the sporting events signature cocktail hall of fame alongside its historic counterparts. While many spirits brands undoubtedly envy the success of Grey Goose’s signature serve, it’s unclear if similar promotional cocktails will be able to squeeze their way into U.S.-based sports in the near future. That said, you can always create your own and watch your championship of choice at home.