Golf’s Favorite Cocktail is Now My Favorite Cocktail

It’s called a transfusion, and it has grape juice

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Purple drink

I have never played golf, and I probably never will, because the fun parts of golf – like wearing plaid pants and having someone to carry your stuff around all day – aren’t built into the actual game. I’m not here for sports, I'm here for leisure. I am only interested in golf’s aprés-ski equivalent, not golf itself. But thankfully you don’t have to pick up a club in order to waste several daytime hours getting drunk in pastel piqué and loafers.

Since I started following cart girl Cassie Holland on TikTok, I have learned that for many golfers, “playing golf” is just an excuse to get day-drunk. But I was even more surprised to learn that golf has a drink of its own, a drink I have never heard of in a decade of working with alcohol: the “transfusion,” a combination of ginger ale, vodka, and grape juice.

The transfusion is said to have been the favorite of, and even invented by, a retired Dwight D. Eisenhower, who sipped transfusions after daily games at the Eldorado Country Club in California and Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. I suppose all the other golfers wanted to be like our 34th U.S. president, because now transfusions are served up in every country club bar and mobile bar cart, and almost nowhere else.

It is extremely funny to me that the hallmark drink of some of the country’s most exclusive spaces includes grape juice, a beverage that most people stop craving after puberty, and that the cocktail is only one step away from an exceptionally plain ginger ale and vodka highball – but I gotta say it works. The secret is to dose the GJ like a syrup, for just a little flavor. The final drink should still be transparent, with just enough pigment to stain a white polo.

With that grapey juice box flavor, a transfusion might cause some childhood nostalgia, which is great when combined with the buzz you’ll accumulate after knocking back a few. Maybe that's why they call it a transfusion: because it will turn your blood into alcohol if you aren’t paying attention.


  • Ice
  • Vodka
  • Ginger ale
  • Grape juice
  • Lime (optional)

Fill a glass with ice and top with 2 ounces of vodka or however much you think you need. Top with 4 ounces of ginger ale and an ounce of grape juice. Garnish with a lime wedge if you have any.