What does a four-time Masters winning pro golfer have to do with timeless summer mixology? If your name happens to be Arnold Palmer, then the answer is simple: A whole lot. The golfer's renowned iced tea-lemonade drink is as classic as summer drinks get. Just two ingredients, mixed to a perfected ratio, served with a single garnish, and enjoyed with pure gratification. But contrary to popular belief, an Arnold Palmer isn’t half iced tea and half lemonade. Read on to learn how to perfect the Palmer, and a few summer variations to make it your own.
If you order an Arnold Palmer at a coffee shop or restaurant and you see the server pouring equal parts iced tea and lemonade into a tall glass, scream bloody murder. Alright, that might be extreme (although, in sad memory, I seem to recall having done that once). But do request they remake your drink, if you like, since they’ve clearly done it wrong. A true Arnold Palmer isn’t made with equal parts iced tea and lemonade; in fact, it’s three parts iced tea to one part lemonade. Don’t believe me? Check out the ESPN clip where the legend himself shows you how it’s done.
Try it for yourself, and you’ll understand. Equal parts lemonade yields a beverage that’s just a bit too sweet, and the grassy tea flavor is drowned out. But with only one part lemonade, you get a crisp, uplifting tea bev with only a hint of citrus sweetness. It’s my go-to summer drink: A shot of light caffeine, a whisper of sugar and a tart balance to really get me running… or treading slowly along the green, depending on who you are and what kind of shorts you are wearing.
If you’re ready to take the plunge, here’s how it’s done: Get a tall glass of ice (we like cubes). Pour it just ¼ full of lemonade, and top it off with ¾ iced tea of choice. Garnish with a lemon wedge, and slowly sip by the pool, on the patio, in a car with the windows down or, if you’re a sucker for prototypes, on the green with a checkered golf cap and caddy at your side.
For a summer variation on the Arnold Palmer, make it a cocktail by adding 1 ½ ounces vodka per glass. And if you’re feeling uber-organic, try our recipe for oh-so-delicious iced tea. Make it a Peachy Palmer by using our recipe for peach iced tea, and just add lemonade. Or, if you’re feeling like wine and cheese, try a Saucy Palmer by using our recipe for sparkling sangria tea in place of regular iced tea. And if you like your drink with a twist (and shot of rum), try an Arnold Palmito, a take on the mojito using our mojito tea recipe.