We owe the Arnold Palmer to eavesdropping. The story dates back to the 1960s when, while at a restaurant in Palm Springs, golfer Arnold Palmer ordered his favorite drink: two parts unsweetened iced tea to one part lemonade. A woman sitting nearby overheard the call and ordered one for herself, referring to the beverage as “that Palmer drink.” The Arnold Palmer was born—and with it, the inevitable spiked variations.
While most spiked Arnold Palmer recipes call for vodka, such as the Republican National Convention drink of choice, we at Supercall have a few other ideas for boozifying the classic combo of iced tea and lemonade. Here, the five best ways to spike your next Arnold Palmer.
Note: Two ounces of spirit per cocktail should make a strong enough drink, but scale up or down to suit your tastes.
This sweet-tart Italian liqueur transforms an Arnold Palmer into a low-ABV aperitivo. The lemon liqueur adds rich lemon curd flavors to the already bright and tangy lemonade.
Add tequila to your Arnold Palmer for a Long Island Iced Tea-esque tipple. Silver tequila gives the refreshing sipper a touch of peppery brightness, while reposado tequila imparts notes of caramel and vanilla, which play perfectly with iced black tea.
Try a splash of dark demerara rum for a tropical Arnold Palmer—one that belongs on a golf course in Bermuda. Opt for an overproof or navy strength rum, and you have yourself a stripped down spin on Planter’s Punch.
As any Whiskey Sour drinker knows, fresh lemon juice and sweet, spicy bourbon are a perfect pair—and black tea only makes things better. Try simply adding a splash of bourbon to your Arnold Palmer, or for a long, refreshing take on a Mint Julep, muddle a few mint leaves into the cocktail and add a dash or two of Angostura bitters.
The addition of applejack or Calvados turns the summer staple into the perfect fall cocktail. Add half an ounce of cinnamon syrup to the mix and you’ll be rewarded with a potable apple pie.