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East Lake Serves Up Trad with a Twist

What Atlanta’s historic golf club brings to the table: Biscuits, bacon, and single-estate rum

By Melissa Diskin

East Lake Serves Up Trad with a Twist

By Melissa Diskin

Golfing in Georgia’s heat requires, shall we say, intestinal fortitude. Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club nixes trends, depending on pedigreed ingredients to refresh members at the bar and direct its clubhouse menu. At the bar you won’t find foams, essences, or arcane ingredients to cloud its locally sourced drinks. In a climate where “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity” is less a comment on the weather and more a fact of life, beautiful simplicity is just par for the course.

Looking for a trad-with-a-twist menu to inspire your own tournament post-round party? Start with a batch of drinks, easily adapted to suit a crowd or just share with a friend on the porch. East Lake bar manager John Beal serves up two deceptively simple drinks, both made with heritage liquors.

Named after Prosper J. Berckmans, a 19th-century Belgian botanist turned Georgia nurseryman who planted more than a thousand varieties of fruit trees (and whose family homestead is now the Augusta National clubhouse), The Prosper mixes Fruitland Peach Tea Vodka with lemonade, poured over ice and garnished with gingered lemon wheels. It’s a tipsy spin on the fruited teas served up at dinner tables around the South—think of it as an exceptionally delicious, adults-only way to replenish electrolytes. 

The Hot & Humid turns swelter into a virtue by modifying a Moscow Mule into a thing of beauty and a joy forever with just three ingredients: Richland Rum, ginger beer, and lime juice, poured over ice in a signature copper tankard. Made in a small town in southwestern Georgia, Richland Rum is crafted with estate-grown sugar cane processed using centuries-old techniques, by the only single-estate rum distillery in the United States.

But potent potables are only half the story. the East Lake Golf Club menu offers new interpretations of old standards, including a Bobby Jones club sandwich and a spinach salad with a piquant bacon dressing. That same dressing spangles a fried chicken BLT sandwich slathered with pimiento cheese, and, at member request, is also served in ramekins as a dipping sauce for hefty platters of fried chicken. These universal favorites are frequently preceded by a plate of house-made potato chips with blue cheese and bacon, or by a pile of regionally inspired cheese biscuits, with outsized flavor due to a hefty proportion of cheddar, parmesan, gruyere, and a bite of cayenne. 

If you’re replicating a full spread at home, special desserts at East Lake might include s’mores in a cup or icy milkshakes made with locally made High Road ice cream. But beware—temptation will follow you into the changing rooms, where the club provides fresh ginger snaps baked from Bobby Jones’ mother’s recipe.