I distinctly remember being mortified as a teenager when I caught a glimpse of the Masters Golf Tournament on TV. Who in the world would wear that awful green jacket to any event that was televised, and why is something as boring as golf on the television anyway? Now that I am older and have two avid golfers in the family… well I still think the green jacket is pretty awful. With the Masters Tournament coming up, I thought I’d learn a bit more about this favorite sport of my son and hubby. I still don’t know a bogie from a birdie, but I have learned some history of the tournament with respect to food and drink. I chose two iconic menu items from this research on the Masters to recreate and highlight: the Classic Pimento Cheese Sandwich and the Azelea Cocktail (with a peach twist).
The Pimento Cheese Sandwich: and “PimentoGate”
As traditional as the green jacket, the Pimento Cheese Sandwich is another one of those beloved, (but odd) icons of the Masters. Priced at $1.50, the sandwich, and its price, seem to be frozen in time. Legend has it that the original recipe was the secret of an “old man that will not be named”, and when the tournament changed vendors the recipe was effectively recreated by Ted Godfrey, the franchise owner of a restaurant chain called Wife Saver. About four years ago the tournament let go of most of the local vendors, including Godfrey’s Wife Saver chain. Following in the “old man who will not be named” shoes, Mr. Godfrey will not divulge the secret recipe of his recreated pimento sandwich, and the club has had a difficult time replicating the sandwich.
Apparently there was quite a bit of grumbling and some gentle hostility in 2013 because the Pimento Cheese Sandwich had changed. If nothing else the Masters is a beacon of tradition, and it just won’t do to have a non-traditional Pimento Cheese Sandwich (it was said to have (gasp) spice in it). Wright Thompson, ESPN magazine writer, noted that, “it feels a little chef-ified to me. There’s some more spice. The true offense is just any sort of change.”
The Original Pimento Cheese Sandwich
Because it was touted as the original Augusta recipe, this is the one that I made. From the research I could find, it is likely that the sandwich served at the Masters omitted the blue cheese and the Parmesan cheese. My favorite golfer actually like this spread quite a bit, but found it to be much more enjoyable as a topping on a burger rather than soaking into soft Wonder bread.
- 3 cups (12 oz.) shredded white Cheddar Cheese
- 2 cups (8 oz.) shredded yellow Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 4 oz. crumbled blue cheese
- 1 4 oz. jar sliced pimentos
- 1-cup light mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- Party-size loaf white bread or bread cut in slices
- Combine the white Cheddar cheese, yellow Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, blue cheese, pimentos, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard in a food processor and process until smooth. Remove to a bowl.
- Cover and chill. Spread on bread to make sandwiches.
Now for cocktails….
While the Gin and Tonic is considered the official cocktail of the Masters, there are several others that are traditional to the south and honor the Masters. The Azalea cocktail is a classic since azalea bushes bloom all over Augusta during April when the Masters Golf Tournament occurs. I’ve added some Peach Simple Syrup to make it just a little more Georgian, and called it the Peach Azelea Cocktail.
Recipe for the Peach Azelea Cocktail
- 1 part lime juice
- 1 part canned pineapple juice
- 1/2 part Peach Simple Syrup
- 2 1/2 parts gin
- dash of grenadine to color it pink
Mix in cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Here’s a little video showing the Peach Azelea made at our house. Cheers!
Watch the Step by Step Video for More Details