The Tipsy Palmer Cocktail

The Tipsy Palmer is a hole in one with fried birdies

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Champagne may be the wine pairing of choice for fancy fried chicken fans, but I'll be reaching for a cocktail the next time I have a pile of crisp drumsticks in front of me.

And that cocktail would be the Tipsy Palmer. As a Palmer, I feel some kinship obviously but what I really like is how easy it is to make and how good it tastes: A boozy variation of an Arnold Palmer, it's lemonade and iced tea spiked with bourbon.

So why drink it with fried chicken? For one, sweet tea is a staple in the South, where fried chicken dreams come true. And, as much as anything can hope to, the cocktail's refreshing sweet-tartness cuts through all that breading and grease.

As far as cocktails go, the Tipsy Palmer isn't exactly earth-shattering, so in the hopes of making the pedestrian drink fancier, I chatted with our drinks editor Jim Meehan. He recommended trying The Reverend Palmer, a drink created by his buddy Don Lee at PDT: 2 ounces of bourbon infused with black tea leaves, ½ ounce of lemon-infused simple syrup and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters stirred and strained into a chilled rocks glass with one big ice cube and a lemon twist garnish. Preach on.

While that sounds absolutely delicious, if you want to make the Tipsy Palmer a touch classier without all that work, here are a couple of ideas: Brew your own iced black tea. Get your hands dirty by making some fresh-squeezed lemonade. Add a nice candied lemon-peel garnish.

As for me, the next time I have a fried chicken party, I'm going to tweak it by muddling some preserved lemons and adding some fresh mint leaves to a big pitcher of the stuff. What am I going to call it? The Tipsy Karen Palmer, of course.