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Fancy a John Panton? The popular drinks named after famous people, including the legendary Perthshire golfer

John Panton during the Open Golf Championship at Carnoustie in 1953.
John Panton during the Open Golf Championship at Carnoustie in 1953.

Having a drink named after you is a great honour. Brian Stormont uncovers the story behind the John Panton – ginger beer, lime and Angostura Bitters.

I was a wee bit drouthy the other night but fancied something different to quench my thirst so I reached for ginger beer and lime – or as I know it, a John Panton.

Named after the three-time Ryder Cup golfer from Pitlochry in Perthshire, I remember having my first John Panton in the early 1980s.

Although I don’t recall exactly why I tried it (probably because it included something that had beer in the name), I loved it – I also loved the fact there was a drink named after someone.

There are two versions of the John Panton – the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic.

One is ginger beer with a splash of lime, a very refreshing drink on a warm day, while the alcoholic one is the same but served in a glass rimmed with Angostura Bitters.

Ginger beer and lime (a John Panton).

The story goes that there was a lot of drinking that went on among golfers on the British and European tours in the post-Second World War years.

Drink less, win more!

Panton and Irish golfer Harry Bradshaw frequently enjoyed a drink together on the circuit and one day it dawned on them that maybe if they drank less they would win more tournaments.

While still wanting to enjoy a refreshment that had a little kick or some spice to it, Panton tried a combination of ginger beer, a dash of lime and Angostura Bitters.

And so the John Panton was born.

JOHN PANTONThe perfect drink on a hot summer day!John Panton (left) is pictured with Forfar's very own Sandy…

Posted by Forfar Golf Club on Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Although Angostura Bitters has a high alcohol percentage (44.7%), used only on the rim of the glass meant it was highly diluted in the drink.

As a result, Panton and Bradshaw could still enjoy a drink with fellow golfers, but remain focused for the task ahead on the course the following day.

Bizarrely, the fourth hole on St Andrews Old Course is named Ginger Beer in homage to Daw Anderson, a greenkeeper there who used to serve passing golfers his ginger beer (or maybe something stronger) there.

For many years Panton was the honorary professional at St Andrews and went on to record 39 wins during his illustrious career, with a career-best in the Open of fifth being recorded twice – in 1956 and 1959.

Panton, who died in 2009 at the age of 92, was a veteran of three Ryder Cup campaigns in the 1950s and 60s and was known as “Gentleman John” for his famously good manners.

He was awarded the MBE for services to the game.

The Arnold Palmer

Another drink with golfing ties is the Arnold Palmer made with half lemonade and half iced tea. However, although it is served that way, Palmer himself didn’t make it like that. His version was three-quarters tea and one-quarter lemonade.

The late Arnold Palmer pictured with fellow golfing legends, Gary Player, centre, and Jack Nicklaus.

And there is also the John Daly, named after the winner of the Open at St Andrews in 1995, which is the alcoholic version of the Arnold Palmer with vodka and a little Triple Sec added.

The Arnold Palmer.

There are also many other drinks named after famous people.

Here are five of our favourites…

The Rob Roy

The Rob Roy.

We had to start with a Scottish one and this cocktail gets its name from national hero Robert Roy MacGregor, who famously went by the name Rob Roy.

The cocktail was developed back in 1894 and was created for the premiere of an operetta named Rob Roy.

If you fancy making it, get together 50mls of whisky, 25mls of sweet vermouth and two dashes of Angostura Bitters.

Stir all ingredients together to mix and then shake over ice.


The Bellini.

Named after the Italian painter Giovanni Bellini, the cocktail was actually created in the 1930s, despite him having died in 1516, the Bellini has only two ingredients – peach puree topped up with chilled prosecco.

To make, simply fill a Champagne flute one third full with peach puree and then top with the prosecco.

Shirley Temple

The Shirley Temple.

It is appropriate that this cocktail, which is named after the child star who began her career aged three, is non-alcoholic.

Made with ginger ale, a splash of grenadine and topped with Maraschino cherries, various establishments have argued over the years who gets credit for its creation.

To make, fill a glass with ice and add 20mls of grenadine with 10mls of freshly squeezed lime juice. Top with 150mls of ginger ale and gently stir to combine. Top with Maraschino cherries.


The classic Margarita.

There are many stories about where cocktails originated and one about the Margarita involves the daughter of a German ambassador, Margarita Henkel.

It is said a bartender from Hussong Cantina did some experimenting and ended up creating the famous Margarita for the young lady.

If the story is true, then the margarita is another drink that is named after a real person.

It may not be true but it’s lovely drink you can simply make by combining 50mls tequila, 25mls lime juice and 20mls Cointreau. Rub some lime on the edge of your glass and then dip in salt so rim is covered. Combine your drink ingredients in a cocktail shaker or a glass jar if you don’t have one. Strain into the prepared glass over ice.

The Charlie Chaplin

The Charlie Chaplin.

This drink was developed at New York City’s famous Waldorf-Astoria when the silent film star was at the height of his screen career.

Equal parts sloe gin, apricot brandy, freshly squeezed lime juice and a little chilled water or ice are used to create this cocktail which is garnished with some lime peel or lemon.

To make it, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 35mls of sloe gin, 35mls of apricot brandy and 35mls of lime juice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.

Read more on cocktails…