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Brent Kelley

The Arnold Palmer Drink

By December 17, 2009

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Have you ever poured yourself a cool, refreshing Arnold Palmer? The Arnold Palmer drink - sometimes called a "mocktail" because the recipe includes no alcohol - is the subject of a new Sportscenter commercial on ESPN (watch it on YouTube), and that's brought the Arnold Palmer drink back into the public spotlight.

I wrote about the Arnold Palmer drink last year when I stumbled across cans of an Arizona Iced Tea beverage labeled Arnold Palmer Lite Half & Half.

The Arnold Palmer drink recipe is pretty simple:

  • Make some tea, make some lemonade; chill.
  • Drop a few ice cubes into a tall glass.
  • Fill halfway with tea; fill up with lemonade; stir.
That's the Arnold Palmer drink: Half unsweetened tea, half lemonade. So why is that mixture called an Arnold Palmer? It's unlikely that Mr. Palmer invented the drink, but it's certain that he popularized it by requesting it so frequently in golf course clubhouses. One of those clubhouses eventually put it on the menu, naming it after The King, and the Arnold Palmer drink took off from there.

The basic recipe isn't the only recipe, however. Using sweet tea, rather than unsweetened tea, in the mixture results in a drink called the Winnie Palmer (Palmer's first wife), according to Wikipedia. Any Arnold Palmer drink to which alcohol is added can be called an "adult Arnold Palmer"; an Arnold Palmer with vodka added is sometimes called a John Daly.

And then there are the Arnold Palmer cupcakes made by Food Network personality Paula Deen, who bestowed that name upon them because her recipe includes black tea and lemon, and the cupcakes are frosted with an icing making use of the same tea/lemon flavor combo.

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