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The Fernando: A Country Club’s Signature Cocktail on the U.S. Open


At the doorway to the boys’s locker room on the Country Club in Brookline, Mass., the positioning of this week’s U.S. Open, a comfy, dark-wood bar fills a corner, with chairs and tables and well-stuffed couches throughout.

Golf memorabilia adorns the partitions. To the best of the bar hangs one of the crucial famous garments in golf history: the tan-collared burgundy golf shirt, with its oval and square photos of past Ryder Cup winners, worn by Team U.S.A. when it made an improbable Sunday comeback to win the 1999 Cup in Brookline.

But a bar is just a set of wood and bottles without an important bartender. On this case, that room actually has one of the crucial famous bartenders in all of golf: Fernando Figueroa, who has worked that room since Easter week 1990.

Fernando, who exists in golf by his first name like Tiger or Rory, is an amiable presence. In the event you dream of celebrating an important victory — or drowning your sorrows after a nasty round — Fernando is the bartender you’d want pouring drinks.

But what makes him stand out just isn’t his genial personality, his presence and even his understanding look: it’s the cocktail he created — a rum-based concoction named, fittingly, The Fernando.

Drinking and golf go together like peanut butter and jelly. But at most of the most-storied private clubs in America, guests will not be throwing back a light-weight beer or a tough seltzer. They’re indulging in a cocktail that they will only get there.

On the National Golf Links of America in Southampton, N.Y., which has hosted the Walker Cup and can host the Curtis Cup in 2030, it’s the Southside, a rum-based libation best sipped from the porch overlooking the 18th fairway and the water beyond.

Merion Golf Club, in Ardmore, Pa., host of this yr’s Curtis Cup and the 2030 U.S. Open, has the Pine Valley, an ice-choked drink of confusing origin: It bears the name of the world’s top-ranked golf club (Pine Valley Golf Club in Recent Jersey), but some say it was first made at Gulph Mills Golf Club, an exceedingly private nearby club.

Farther south, Sea Island in Georgia has the Sea Island Iced Tea, an oceanside version of a Long Island Iced Tea whose pale pink hue belies the strength of the alcohol within the glass. And Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla., has the Honeysuckle, a frozen concoction that goes down easy after a round on the course, a Donald Ross-designed gem.

But none of those are Fernandos, with a status in golf that precedes it.

“So many guests who’ve never been to the Country Club have heard in regards to the Fernando,” said Lyman Bullard, the club’s president. “They need one as soon as they get off the course — or they don’t even wait that long.”

So how did the Fernando come to be? The person himself just isn’t secretive.

“I used to be the locker room attendant on the time,” he said. “Dale Lewis was my manager and likewise the bartender. He needed to show me learn how to make some drinks for when he desired to take a break.”

On the time, the club had a rum float that wasn’t very talked-about, so Fernando asked if he could create something higher.

“I began by taking away Bacardi and putting in Mount Gay rum. I added sour mix with egg whites and straightforward syrup. Then I shake it and put in soda water, which makes the bubbles come up like a cappuccino. I modified the dark rum floater from Goslings to Myers’s.”

He remembers the primary two members who tasted it: Davis Rowley and George Carroll. “They said, ‘Fernando, that is great,’” he said. “We’re going to make this drink famous.”

Reached in Delray Beach, Fla., where he’s retired from real estate, Rowley confirmed the story. “We heavily promoted it,” he said. “We might just egg everyone on to get a Fernando. For some time, someone nicknamed me the Mayor of Fernandos.”

As for what makes the drink so great, Rowley waxed poetic. “It’s the viscosity of the drink,” he said. “The trick of putting the pinnacle on it with the sour mix and the egg whites and drizzling the Myers’s on it — it’s a labor of affection on his part. A few Fernandos are good, but after three, chances are you’ll wish to call an Uber.”

Alas, during U.S. Open week, the locker room is the private and exclusive preserve of the players. No spectators, not even club members, are allowed inside.

(Fans attending the tournament are in a position to order a Lemon Wedge, a cocktail that Dewar’s, a sponsor, created for the U.S. Open. It’s a summery spin on the classic highball, nevertheless it’s no Fernando.)

So will Fernando be mixing up post-round libations for, say, the defending champion, Jon Rahm? No probability.

Like a treasured family keepsake that you simply move out of harm’s way before the guests arrive, Fernando shall be on the primary floor of the principal club — serving up his signature cocktail for those with club access.

Membership has its privileges.


Shake the ingredients together and put it in a cup. Then, put soda water in and stir it at the identical time to create the froth.

Add a Myers’s Dark Rum floater and a chunk of orange and a cherry to garnish.

As for the precise measurements, Fernando said, “I eyeball it.”

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