Drink in the History of the Great Arnold Palmer

How the golf legend's signature beverage became iconic
Arnold Palmer
Photos: Arina P Habich, Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

This weekend, golf lost a legend. The always-stylish Arnold Palmer, who was nicknamed “the King” of the game passed away on Sunday.

In his honor, we are raising a glass of his signature drink. But how did the Arnold Palmer—a mix of iced tea and lemonade—become the Arnold Palmer?

There are countless myths. But a few years ago, Palmer set the record straight in an ESPN documentary, explaining:  

"My wife made a lot of iced tea for lunch, and I said, 'Hey babe, I've got an idea.' You make the iced tea and make a big pitcher, and we'll just put a little lemonade in it and see how that works. We mixed it up, and I got the solution about where I wanted it and I put the lemonade in it. I had it for lunch after working on the golf course. I thought, 'Boy, this is great, babe. I'm going to take it when I play golf. I'm going to take a thermos of iced tea and lemonade.'"

From there, legend has it that Palmer ordered the drink at a bar. Overhearing Palmer’s order, a woman asked for the same calling it an Arnold Palmer. The drink “spread like wildfire,” Palmer remembered.

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While the drink in its modern interpretation can be just about any balance of iced tea and lemonade, Palmer had strong thoughts about the ratio: “Iced tea has the dominant side, that dominates the drink. And, if it doesn’t, it isn’t really right.”


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