The Easy Way To Give Your Arnold Palmer A Hint Of Mint

Arnold Palmer wasn't just a legendary golfer. He also lent his name to — and allegedly invented — a drink that has become an American classic. A simple mix of iced tea and lemonade, the Arnold Palmer has spawned countless variations.

According to Palmer himself, the drink was born when he asked his wife to mix lemonade into the iced tea she regularly served at lunch. He liked the combination so much that he regularly began ordering it at restaurants and golf clubs.

Allegedly, another customer overheard Palmer's order and told the waitstaff, "I'll have that Arnold Palmer drink." The name took off ... to Palmer's chagrin. Even well after the drink became widely known, Palmer refused to order it by name. According to The Denver Post, he once told an interviewer that he felt "embarrassed" asking for an "Arnold Palmer." After years of explaining his order only to hear waitstaff reply with, "Oh, you want an Arnold Palmer," he gave in.

In 2001, AriZona Beverages obtained the rights to the Arnold Palmer name and image. A testament to the drink's versatility, the company's line of teas now includes strawberry, Southern style, and diet variations. But while AriZona's premade version has remained popular since its launch, homemade Arnold Palmers are a mainstay in American kitchens, too.

With simple, straightforward ingredients, the drink lends itself to experimentation. For a twist that's especially refreshing on a hot summer's day, add mint — a classic addition to Southern sweet tea.

How to make a mint Arnold Palmer

For a minty, elevated Arnold Palmer, you'll need sugar, water, black tea, mint leaves, and fresh lemon juice. 

Start by brewing the tea. While classic Southern iced tea is typically brewed hot and chilled, you're free to try cold brewing, too. While the tea is steeping, make mint simple syrup by heating one part sugar and one part water in a saucepan. Depending on the intensity you want, either infuse the mint leaves in the syrup as it boils or wait until the syrup is cooled and combine the syrup and mint leaves in a blender.

Combine the tea, simple syrup, lemon juice, and water, tasting as you go and adjusting the drink to your liking. While many recipes call for equal parts tea and lemonade — some even call the drink a "half and half" — the ratio is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Palmer preferred a tea-heavy combo; lemonade lovers might disagree.

If you don't want to take the time to infuse simple syrup with mint or make homemade lemonade, there are plenty of other ways to add mint to your Arnold Palmer. Some recipes suggest muddling fresh leaves in the bottom of your glass; others call for herbal mint tea instead of traditional black.

Of course, there have been many boozy iterations of the Arnold Palmer over the years, too. Some recipes suggest adding bourbon for a variation on a mint julep. Alternatively, add vodka or limoncello.