Serena Williams fans may want to drown their sorrows in a Honey Deuce now that the six-time U.S. Open champion has been eliminated, losing a three-hour brawl against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in what may be the final match of a glorious career. But easing the pain won’t come cheap.
The tournament’s signature drink, a Grey Goose vodka-based cocktail made with Chambord (a black raspberry liquor) and freshly squeezed lemonade adorned with three pieces of honeydew melon (shaped like tennis balls), costs $22 this year, a 10% increase from 2021 and almost double the $12 price tag it carried when it debuted in 2007.
Until this year, the price of a Honey Deuce rose faster than inflation. Between 2012 and 2022, the drink’s cost went up 57% (from $14 to $22), while the consumer price index rose 29%. The biggest hike came between 2017 and 2019, when the price went from $16 to $18, a 12.5% raise, while the CPI went up only 4%.
CPI measures the average price change over time in a fixed market basket of goods and services, including food and drinks, but not expensive cocktails.
While the latest Honey Deuce pricing is taking a beating on social media, William’s likely last major appearance is likely to break many records. Before she announced this would be her final tournament, the USTA was selling 3,200 tickets a day. The day after she revealed her plans, more than 16,500 tickets flew out the door, a whopping 515% increase.
The “Serena effect” and a post-pandemic boom also impacted merchandise sales. According to Mary Ryan, the USTA’s merchandising director, sales are up 34% year over year during the first four days of the tournament. Food and beverage sales during the main draw are up 70% over 2021. Organizers expect to sell 200,000 Honey Deuces over the two weeks, and the number will surpass 2 million in all-time sales by the end of the tournament.
“This weekend is the biggest party in New York,” Ryansaid. “The crowds will be big. It’s great tennis, food, drinking, and shopping.” Ryan said that most people stay on the premises for six to seven hours. “So they’re eating and drinking a couple of times. And our sales are always very strong on Labor Day weekend.”
Lucky ticket holders will enjoy world-class tennis and expensive drinks this weekend, but they aren’t the only people in town who spend big bucks on libations. Since the pandemic, New York City has seen a significant increase in food and drink prices, with cocktail ranging between $18 to $24, depending on the neighborhood.
Step aside Big Mac Index, there is a new metric in town.