What Is An Azalea Cocktail And What Does It Taste Like?

We may go to sporting events to watch someone walk away victorious — sorry, in pro sports there are no participation trophies — but we can all be winners when it comes to partaking in the food and drink. Those good eats and beverages are an important part of the experience. In fact, "signature drinks" have become synonymous with several big races and tournaments in the United States and the United Kingdom. According to Smart Meetings, the Kentucky Derby wouldn't be the same without all the ladies wearing big hats and sipping on Mint Juleps. When you go to the U.S. Tennis Open, the Grey Goose Honey Deuce will have you feeling the love, and Wimbledon will have you raising your Pimm's as you try to catch a glimpse of the Royals, or perhaps, nosh on the classic strawberries and cream everyone is eating, per Essentially Sports.

But if you are planning to watch the Masters, which per the tournament's website, brings together golf's best to play 72 holes in Augusta, Georgia in pursuit of a green jacket and a nice prize purse, you are going to want to grab yourself all the ingredients to make the classic cocktail known as the azalea. Walter Cronkite called azalea flowers the "sweet smell of the South" and that's just what you will imagine when you see this alcoholic beverage in its beautiful shade of romantic pink — refreshing enough to wet your whistle after walking a golf course. What's in it?

How is an azalea cocktail made?

What makes the azalea cocktail so delish? Per the blog, The Plain Chicken, the azalea cocktail really captures the spirit of the Masters and is made using four ingredients: lemon and pineapple juice, along with grenadine and the gin of your choice. The blogger notes that if you want to riff on these classic ingredients and make the drink more to your personal taste, you can substitute vodka for gin and even add some bubbles to create more of a spritzer with a little prosecco. How does it taste? An Unblurred Lady describes this drink as sweet, fruity, and a little citrusy. It can be made as a single cocktail, or if you are hosting a gathering, feel free to make enough to fill a pitcher. Of course, if you are going to mix-up this alcoholic drink, you want to drink responsibly and make certain those around you do as well.

What was the inspiration behind this drink?

How did this drink get its name? According to the Masters website, the course is surrounded by a great number of azalea bushes, particularly near the 13th hole which is named for these flowers that line its south side. They go on to explain that there are over 30 different types of Rhododendron specie, the scientific name for this flower, on the grounds of the golf course. So, it makes a lot of sense that the signature drink would be named after these fragrant flowers. 

Per Farm to Jar, if you are looking for something to pair this signature drink with, you might want to consider a pimento cheese sandwich. This sandwich is also a tradition of the tourney; however, it is not without controversy. In 2013, per ESPN, the recipe for this iconic sandwich changed. Turns out the guy who originally developed the pimento cheese filling refused to part with the ingredient list when the Masters decided to use a different vendor. Lucky for us, the same can't be said about the recipe for the azalea cocktail!