Sometimes it sits alone on a table at the U.S. Open or in the grip of a thirsty tennis fan. Often it is stacked, maybe in a pair, maybe in a precariously balanced tower.
Everywhere you look is the familiar clear cup of the Honey Deuce.
For a while, columns of Honey Deuce cups were all that Christine Dinisi saw when she opened her cupboard while looking for a water glass. “For a long time, until about a year or two years ago, they were my only cups in my apartment,” said Dinisi, 34, who estimated she had about 20 in her kitchen at one point.
The Honey Deuce, made of Grey Goose vodka, raspberry liqueur and lemonade, and garnished with honeydew melon in the shape of tennis balls, has been the signature cocktail of the U.S. Open since 2006. The drink is a draw all on its own, but the hard plastic cup, with the current year and names of previous U.S. Open winners printed on it, is a sought-after souvenir, helping some fans justify the cocktail’s $22 price.
Dinisi, a marketing services manager for a New York architecture and engineering firm, has been collecting the cups for years. She said the Honey Deuce was a motivating factor for her trips to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. “It may be one of the reasons to go to the U.S. Open,” she said.
Last year, more than 405,000 of the cocktails were sold at the Open. On the middle weekend of the tournament, some stands ran out of the collectible cups, instead delivering the Honey Deuce in a generic cup for the reduced price of $20.
On Monday, Trudy Potter, Susie McMullan and Debbie Morrison, all of Ridgefield, Conn., were leaving the Grandstand with eight cups stacked among them.
“We come here for this,” Potter said of the cups. “My kids love them,” McMullan said.
The friends enjoy collecting the cups as mementos of their visits to the U.S. Open, with the listing of the victors’ names offering a record of the tournament over time. “The years go by, and we remember the winners,” Potter said.
But there’s a key, Morrison said, to keeping the cups in good condition year after year: “Hand-wash them,” she said. Otherwise, the cups may crack and fade.
Dinisi has had to jettison a fair number of cracked cups over the years. But she likes that the cup looks more like a water glass than a typical stadium souvenir, and its hard plastic structure makes it sturdier than most.
That was by design. Aleco Azqueta, the vice president for marketing at Grey Goose North America, said the acrylic cup was constructed so that bartenders could pour and serve the drinks as quickly as possible, and so that they would be safe for fans to carry around in a stadium.
“For many fans, the cups are central to their entire U.S. Open experience,” Azqueta wrote in an email. “The tournament is a stylish affair, and it often feels like the Honey Deuce is treated as a fashion accessory.”
Whether it’s making a chic statement at the seen-and-be-seen event that marks the unofficial end of summer or merely doing its job as a receptacle for a sweet, signature drink, the cup is ubiquitous at New York’s Grand Slam tournament.
For her part, Dinisi relies less on the Honey Deuce cup now than she once did — “I finally broke down and bought some real, actual water glasses,” she said — but she’ll still take home one or two this year. It wouldn’t be the Open without them.