It doesn’t take much effort to picture an NHL hockey player enjoying a few drinks.

But, vodka with pink lemonade? You better believe it. Retired NHL Defenseman Ryan Whitney admitted to enjoying the combination on the popular Barstool Sports podcast, Spittin’ Chiclets. He explained that he routinely mixed E&J Gallo New Amsterdam Vodka with Pink Lemonade, which spurred a social media phenomenon that led to the creation of one of the most popular flavored vodkas on the market.

Before dabbling in mixology, Ryan D. Whitney started a professional hockey career when the Pittsburgh Penguins selected him in the 2002 NHL Draft. After three years in the minor leagues, he debuted with the Penguins and went on to help the team reach the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. He also played for the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers. Whitney also won a silver medal as a member of Team USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

These days, Whitney spends his time as an NHL Network analyst, a frequent guest on ESPN’s Pardon My Take, and on the previously mentioned Barstool Sports’ Spittin’ Chiclets podcast. When Whitney told the world about his simple mixology on the podcast, it gave birth to a popular #PinkWhitney social-media hashtag. New Amsterdam promptly turned that trend into a bottled, 70-proof flavored vodka.

“We thought it would be fun to introduce it as a limited, one-time offer. We started with 70,000 cases, and it sold out in one month,” says Britt West, general manager E & J Gallo.

Pink Whitney, bottle on white

Pink Whitney

As a result of its success, Pink Whitney evolved into a permanent fixture alongside a dozen other flavored New Amsterdam vodkas. “We are finding that it is predominantly used as a shot or taken neat, or maybe mixed with something like club soda,” says West.[The Pink Whitney] is now the fastest-growing flavor vodka in the industry. Born of social media, it has become the brand that has taken on a life of its own.”

The flavored vodka has its own social media accounts, including the @pinkwhitney Twitter and Instagram handles. Whitney, himself, now includes the drink as part of his Twitter bio: “One-fourth of the @spittinchiclets podcast team presented by @barstoolsport and the first person to ever mix pink lemonade with vodka @pinkwhitney…golf nut.”

The additional “golf nut” comment at the end speaks to Whitney’s passion for golf, so it is no surprise that one can now purchase Pink Whitney Golf Gear on the @barstoolsports store. Of course, Whitney’s fame grew not on green grass, but ice; at least one dozen NHL Stadiums served Barstool Sports & New Amsterdam Pink Whitney before the COVID-19 virus interrupted the NHL season.

The status of the NHL season, like many drinking establishments in the U.S., remains in limbo. Regardless, the already-popular Pink Whitney suits a drinking culture where the pandemic has made Ready-To-Drink cocktails and flavored spirits exceptionally appealing. And this one appeals to college crowds, hockey fans and any adult that enjoys a flavorful drink.