What Is an Arnold Palmer Drink and Who Was Arnold Palmer?

The highest honor that society can bestow upon a person is naming a drink after them. Just ask Dr. Pepper, Mr. Pibb, or Jeffrey Gatorade. One of the most popular and the most refreshing beverages ever named after a real-life person has to be the Arnold Palmer. For those of you that don’t watch golf or were born this millennium, yes, Arnold Palmer was a real person. In the words of those M&M’s in that holiday commercial, “He does exist.” Or, at least, he did exist. He died in 2016. But what exactly is an Arnold Palmer? How do you make an Arnold Palmer? Why is it called an Arnold Palmer? Read on to find out a lot about the Arnold Palmer drink and a little about the Arnold Palmer person.

What is an Arnold Palmer?

An Arnold Palmer is a refreshing drink made with a mix of iced tea and lemonade. That’s it. Thanks for reading! Wait, come back! Of course there’s more to the story than that. 

Why is it called an Arnold Palmer? 

The drink is named after a famous golfer named Arnold Palmer. Who is Arnold Palmer? He was one of the greatest golfers of all time. Nicknamed The King, Palmer entered the prime of his career just as golf was becoming a popular sport on television, during the 1950s. Because of this, Palmer developed a large, dedicated fanbase. The story goes that Palmer asked his wife, Winnie, to add some lemonade to his iced tea. He loved the taste and began requesting the drink at restaurants. The drink took off in the 1960s after a woman overheard Palmer ordering his drink at a restaurant and asked the waiter for “that Palmer drink.”  This happened in either Augusta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; or Palm Springs, depending on who’s telling the story. 

How to make an Arnold Palmer drink?

Recipes for the Fifty-Fifty, calling for half lemonade and half iced tea predate Palmer’s story by decades. But an Arnold Palmer drink is a little bit different. It’s not a 50/50 mix, but rather about three parts iced tea and one part lemonade. These measurements give you a nice tea flavor with a lemon punch. 

Is an Arnold Palmer made with sweet or unsweet tea?

Traditionally, an Arnold Palmer is made with unsweetened tea. An Arnold Palmer made with sweet tea is called a Winnie Palmer, after his first wife. There is also a spiked Arnold Palmer drink, usually made with vodka. That drink is called a Jon Daly. Jon Daly is another golfer. He looks like the type of dude that would ask for a shot of vodka in most of his drinks. 

Does Arnold Palmer have caffeine?

An Arnold Palmer drink does usually have a little caffeine. Afterall, most iced tea is caffeinated, so it’s going to have however much caffeine is present in the tea you use. The name Arnold Palmer has been licensed to some companies, like Arizona Iced Tea, to use on their tea/lemonade drinks. Some of those are a little more caffeinated. 

Even after the Arnold Palmer drink became famous, Arnold Palmer continued ordering “three parts iced tea and one part lemonade,” because he said he didn’t like asking for “an Arnold Palmer.” I, however, don’t have any problem asking for the drink that’s named after me. My drink is just like an Arnold Palmer but instead of iced tea and lemonade it’s gasoline and gasoline.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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