Let me start by saying that as a rule, I can do without TV fluff pieces. Show me golf. That’s why I tuned in. But like anything in life, there is the occasional rule breaker.
On Friday, during NBC’s broadcast of the second round of the 122nd US Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts, director Tommy Roy elected to cut away from the action for a pre-produced piece. Perhaps you used it as a chance to get up from the La-Z-Boy and refill your drink, grab a pre-dinner snack or make a pit stop at the loo. If you did, you would miss out on a fun feature that gave viewers a different lens into why, beyond being one of America’s great classic courses, it would not suck to be a member of The Country Club.
NBC’s longtime essayist Jimmy Roberts told me something that I did not know, the story of the Fernando.
It’s a refreshing cocktail named for bartender Fernando Figueroa, the creator of the drink some three decades ago, who was a summer replacement and, funny enough, did not drink.
“He has been making his concoction, which he has figured out by smell ever since,” Roberts explained.
I love it when a club has a signature drink or dish – think of the Turtle Soup at Pine Valley or the chilled lobster lunch at National Golf Links of America – and The Fernando is held in such high regard that the pro shop sells a Fernando hat , which fans of the drink donning the lid have had recognized throughout the city.
The beloved drink is a combination of two rums. “It’s a light rum with a sweet and sour mix, a little bit of egg white mixed in, some simple syrup and soda water at the same time, topped with a dark rum. Mix and voila, ”Fernando said.
Members love it. “People come to the club and ask for a Fernando and we have no idea how they’ve heard of the Fernando,” a TCC staff member noted in the feature.
It gives a whole new meaning to Fernando-mania. On an average summer weekend day, Fernando mixes 300 of his signature drinks per day.
Although the clip is not available on social media, here’s a feature from an NBC affiliate in Boston on the drink:
Big day over in Brookline at The Country Club as we get set for the @usopengolf.@ NBC10Boston‘s @MelodyNBCBoston has the story of a drink there. Not just any drink. It’s “The Fernando” & while it looks fabulous, it’s more about the man who invented it. I recommend watching! pic.twitter.com/nWF05DpY8z
– Raul Martinez (@RaulNBCBoston) June 16, 2022
Sometimes, these off-beat features can make me want to scream at the set to inform me about the golfers, show me more shots and do not waste my time, but this slice of club life piece, especially on Friday when there was loads of golf still to be played, was a hit with me.
Cheers to Roberts, who took a sip of a freshly made Fernando at the end of the segment and smiled and said, “I like my job.”