How The Arnold Palmer Became A Classic Drink

Iced tea and lemonade are two of the most classic drinks to reach for when the weather gets warm, and on occasions when you can't decide between the two beloved beverages, combining them into an Arnold Palmer is the perfect way to quench your thirst. The marriage is arguably one of the most iconic pairings in the world, and we have its namesake — pro golfer Arnold Palmer — to thank for playing matchmaker.

While it's unclear if he was the first person to ever combine iced tea and lemonade, the late sports icon was well known for sipping on the combo, which he came up with one day after work in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. "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,'" Palmer recalled in an ESPN "30 For 30" short (via The Washington Post).

The mixture quickly became a favorite for the foodie golfer (whose name is also attached to a line of nut mixes). It wasn't until the 1960s, however, that it became the iconic refreshment it is today. The story goes that Palmer requested his signature drink while ordering lunch one day in Palm Springs. A woman sitting nearby overheard and asked the waitress for "that Arnold Palmer drink," unofficially giving the refreshment its name and cementing it in history.

How Arnold Palmer preferred his namesake beverage

Arnold Palmer's 2001 deal with the AriZona Beverage Company has made it easy for people to get their hands on the golfer's eponymous drink. Most grocers and convenience stores stock cans of the thirst-quenching blend bearing Palmer's picture alongside other popular AriZona Tea flavors. This version, however, isn't an exact replica of how the athlete preferred his name-bearing beverage.

Known as the "Half & Half," AriZona's equation for its canned Arnold Palmers is exactly that — half iced tea and half lemonade. Delicious in its own right, this is the easiest formula to follow for the mixed drink, but if you want to slurp down an authentic Arnold Palmer just like the man himself, the ratio to use is 3 parts unsweetened iced tea to 1 part lemonade.

Of course, making an Arnold Palmer ultimately boils down to taste preferences. Those who enjoy that tangy lemon flavor can go a little heavier on the lemonade, while those who prefer just a hint of sourness may prefer Palmer's 3:1 ratio. Additionally, you can experiment by swapping out either the lemonade or tea for one of AriZona's many flavorful varieties like raspberry, peach, or strawberry. For those over 21, Arnold Palmers can also be transformed into refreshing summer cocktails with the addition of spirits like vodka, bourbon, or Giada De Laurentiis' unique spiked Arnold Palmer ingredient: limoncello.