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Your US Open Party Needs These Cocktails

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(image: Tim Nusog)

I can’t claim to be that big of a tennis fan. I don’t follow rankings or really have a player I root for. Yet somehow the major championships in tennis have always been a draw for me. There are great stories in the sport: Serena Williams is potentially the greatest and most dominant tennis player of all time, regardless of gender. Roger Federer is an aging and record-breaking superstar, still relevant and competing. Andy Murray, a Scot, became the first Brit in 77 years to win Wimbledon in 2013. And two of the greatest athletes ever to play the game, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, were knocked out by Juan Martín del Potro in riveting Olympic matches.

Tennis is fascinating, so maybe inviting some friends over to watch the US Open Finals at 4 p.m. on September 10 for the women’s final or September 11 for the men’s final is a good alternative to tired birthday and anniversary parties.


But what do we drink while we watch tennis and have friends over during the day on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon? While Wimbledon has its tradition strongly rooted in the Pimm’s Cup, other tennis majors don’t seem to have the same sort of cocktail fabric woven into their viewership. I’m sure the French drink Champagne while watching the action at Roland-Garros and the Aussies most likely drink lager while watching at Melbourne Park. But what do New Yorkers drink while watching the US Open at Arthur Ashe Stadium?

These are 10 cocktails made with 11 easy ingredients (gin, vodka, Lillet Blanc, prosecco, light beer, orange juice, lemons, limes, simple syrup, club soda, tonic water) you either already have at home or can buy at your local liquor store that combine to make easy no-muss-no-fuss drinks that are perfect for hosting a daytime US Open party.

1. Tom Collins

If you ever have to drink during the day and really don’t feel like it, a Tom Collins will make you forget all of those feelings. Classic and easy drinking, yet sneaky and powerful, it’s the Novak Djokovic of cocktails.

2. Gin & Tonic

This is the perfect combination of two ingredients, ever. It’s the John McEnroe/Björn Borg of mixed drinks: It’s debatable which ingredient compliments the other more. A touch of lime is crucial.

3. Lillet on the Rocks

Every home bar should have a bottle of Lillet Blanc. It’s subtle and charming, like a lob shot when no one is expecting it. This is the sleeper choice of the party and would easily be my selection on a weekend afternoon.

4. Screwdriver

Oh, the complex beauty of simplicity! My grandfather drinks Screwdrivers, and Snoop Dogg drinks Gin & Juice. Keep it simple, and get some fresh orange juice or juice it yourself. Either way, these ingredients go together like Federer and grass.

5. Vesper

The James Bond Martini. This is the drink for your friend who’s probably taking tennis and himself way too seriously. It’s great to have one when the sun goes down, but if you have one for every set won, you’ll be “loser drunk” by 5 p.m.

6. Mimosa

I mean duh! As if you weren’t already planning to make Mimosas! That ball was on the line! The whole stadium saw it! Geez!

7. Beermosa

I stole this drink, aka the Manmosa, from my dear friend Toby Cecchini at The Long Island Bar in Brooklyn—well, kinda. I always knew it as a Brass Monkey as made famous by the Beastie Boys, but a chilled glass and cold beer instead of a warm 40-ounce bottle makes all the difference. Is there a better way to celebrate tennis in NYC than with beer and OJ?

8. French 75

Maybe the quintessential cocktail for day drinking, it’s simply a gin lemonade topped with bubbles. It’s like Rafael Nadal from 2005 to 2014 on clay at the French Open. Could it be more perfect?

9. & 10. Vodka Soda / Vodka Tonic

I’m not a huge fan of the Vodka Soda despite the seemingly popular opinion of everyone trying to cut calories. It’s the Pete Sampras of mixed drinks—boring but effective. A Vodka Tonic on the other hand? Oh, man, in comparison it’s a classic with hair like Andre Agassi.

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