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The History of the Arnold Palmer

The History of the Arnold Palmer

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The legend behind the iced tea-lemonade combination

Have you ever really sat and thought about why an Arnold Palmer is named, well, an Arnold Palmer? The newest short film about Arnold Palmer from Grantland reveals all.

Will Arnett narrates why the pro golfer is really the only athlete to have a drink named after him. Palmer shares that he came up with the idea at home making iced tea with his wife. When he tried to order it at a restaurant — where the waitress, of course, had no idea what he was trying to order — a woman overheard him describe the drink and coined the term "the Arnold Palmer."

Since then, Palmer has benefited enormously from the concoction; he sold the rights to the tea to Arizona Tea nearly 10 years ago, where the Arnold Palmer pulls in about $100 million in sales today.

You can watch the 10-minute film on Grantland; but we'll give you what's clearly our favorite tidbit: Arnold Palmer ordering an Arnold Palmer on a SportsCenter commercial. Meta much?

How Arnold Palmer Gave His Name to His Signature Drink

A rnold Palmer, who died on Sunday at 87, seemed to be born for golf: his father was a pro at the Pennsylvania club where he learned to play. And, even as his heyday faded into the past, he kept playing &mdash dozens of tournaments a year, even after more than a decade had passed since his last major tournament victory. In fact, he didn&rsquot retire until 2006.

But, despite being one of the most recognizable figures in the history of golf, that won&rsquot be all he&rsquos remembered for. Palmer also gave his name to the mixture of iced tea and lemonade that even non-golfers love.

According to legend, the drink&rsquos name goes back to the 1960s. It was already a favorite drink of Palmer&rsquos at the time &mdash as related by Brad Brewer in Mentored by the King: Arnold Palmer&rsquos Lessons for Golf, Business, and Life &mdash a woman happened to overhear Palmer asking a Palm Springs, Calif., waitress to mix him one. She asked for the same, referring to it as &ldquothat Palmer drink.&rdquo The rest was refreshing history.

Palmer would later lend his name and image to branded iterations of the drink, but the Arnold Palmer story is about more than just a tasty beverage and a branding opportunity.

After all, it takes more than one simple &ldquoI&rsquoll have what he&rsquos having&rdquo to turn a generic soft-drink request into a widely recognized nickname. (The complicated story of the Shirley Temple is proof.) The popularity of the Arnold Palmer drink speaks to the popularity of the golfer himself. At the time, Palmer was known for his legions of fans, who had a nickname of their own: Arnie&rsquos Army. It was the widespread and dense network of followers that helped spread the drink nationwide.

Palmer&rsquos fans were so numerous and so dedicated &mdash he could draw thousands of spectators to a tournament &mdash that they were sometimes a distraction from the game itself. But their presence spoke to what made Palmer special and why, decades later, he has remained synonymous with his sport. As TIME put it in a 1960 cover story about the athlete:

Win or lose, Palmer, with his daring, slashing attack, is fun to watch. He is a splendidly built athlete (5 ft. 11 in., 177 Ibs.) with strength in all the right places: massive shoulders and arms, a waist hardly big enough to hold his trousers up, thick wrists, and leather-hard, outsized hands that can crumple a beer can as though it were tissue paper. Like baseball buffs, golf fans dote on the long-ball hitter they pack six deep behind the tee to gasp in admiration as Powerman Palmer unwinds to send a 280-yd. drive down the fairway. Coldly precise in his study of the game, Palmer is anything but stolid during a round: he mutters imprecations to himself, contorts his face, sometimes drops his club and wanders away in disgust at a botched shot. On the greens, bent into his knock-kneed stance, he tries to sink long putts when many pros would prudently try to lag up to the cup. Says Palmer: “I guess I putt past the pin more than most anybody. I always like to give it a chance. Never up, never in, you know.”

Read TIME&rsquos 1960 cover story about Palmer, here in the TIME Vault:For Love & Money

How To Make Arnold Palmers

  1. Make cold brewed tea
  2. Make lemonade
  3. Assemble drink

1. Make cold brewed tea

Combine black tea and cool or room temperature filtered water in a glass container. Put in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. Strain tea.

2. Make lemonade

Make the lemonade by combining the lemon juice, simple syrup, and cold filtered water.

I like to store it in these handy tall Weck jars with plastic Weck lids.

3. Assemble drink

Fill 1/3 of a cup with lemonade then add ice.

Tea Sommelier&rsquos Tip: The drink will be layered due to the sweetened lemonade and ice. The sugar is what helps to create the layered effect. The more sugar there is in the lemonade, the more separation you&rsquoll see.

Pour in the cold brewed tea.

Drink in the History of the Great Arnold Palmer

This weekend, golf lost a legend. The always-stylish Arnold Palmer, who was nicknamed &ldquothe King&rdquo 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&mdasha mix of iced tea and lemonade&mdashbecome the Arnold Palmer?

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

From there, legend has it that Palmer ordered the drink at a bar. Overhearing Palmer&rsquos order, a woman asked for the same calling it an Arnold Palmer. The drink &ldquospread like wildfire,&rdquo Palmer remembered.

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: &ldquoIced tea has the dominant side, that dominates the drink. And, if it doesn&rsquot, it isn&rsquot really right.&rdquo

Look back: How Arnie invented the Arnold Palmer

Remembering some of Arnold Palmer's greatest moments on and off the golf course.

Editor's note: This story was originally published in 2012.

How did a glass of iced tea with a healthy splash of lemonade come to be named after legendary golfer Arnold Palmer?

The drink has as many origin stories as a Marvel comic book hero.

The rumor at Palmer's alma mater was that he developed the beverage at the Wake Forest dining hall. Another said it was created by mistake, like penicillin or Lifesavers. What's the real story?

The man himself sets the record straight in an entertaining new 30 for 30 short, "The Arnold Palmer."

"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.' "

Palmer goes on to tell the story about how he was in a Palm Springs restaurant, ordered the drink to his specifications and was overheard by a woman sitting nearby. "I want an Arnold Palmer," she told the waitress. "I want what he ordered."

With that, a mixed drink was named and a legendary golfer extended his influence beyond the course. Ten years ago, the rights to the drink were sold to AriZona Beverage Co. Sales exceeded $100 million in 2010.

That easy access must come as a relief to Palmer. The 83-year-old told filmmaker Bryan Gordon that ordering his namesake drink used to be embarrassing. He would describe how to make it rather than ordering it by name. At some point, he learned to live with it.

Making it himself looks much easier.

What's the right way to make the beverage?

Like a good golf swing, the Arnold Palmer is all about proper balance.

"Iced tea dominates the drink, and if it doesn't, it's not really right," Palmer says.

Not-So-Secret #1: The Best Iced Tea

Iced tea should be clean-tasting and refreshing, highlighting the smooth, rich flavors of your tea without putting bitterness and astringency up front. Brewing your tea hot is not the way to get there. Chilling down hot tea leaves you with what my colleague Max described as stale, "bitter mulch water." And the Japanese iced coffee method—brewing the tea at double strength, then pouring directly over ice to dilute—gives you tea that tastes both over-extracted and watered down. Max's tests and Kenji's earlier ones suggest that the best-tasting iced tea doesn't come from chilling down hot tea, or letting your tea brew in the sun. Sun tea is romantic and all—we can all picture our grandmothers lovingly setting it out to brew—but it actually doesn't taste as good, and it's not as safe from bacteria as tea that brews in your fridge.

There's nothing complicated about cold-brewed tea: You plop four tea bags—or a fat tablespoon of loose tea—in a quart of water. (I like to use big Mason jars for this, since they seal nicely, but it actually doesn't matter whether you brew in glass, plastic, or aluminum, as long as you serve your tea from a glass.) Let the mixture chill out in the refrigerator for five hours. Strain or remove the tea bags. Drink immediately, or store in the fridge for up to three days.

Or, hold up. Don't drink it yet. Because the tea is even better when mixed with.

Arnold Palmer at 90: With thousands of clubs, finding way to honor The King still in works

With 19,000 pieces of memorabilia from Arnold Palmer’s career in addition to thousands of his clubs sitting in storage, it’s only natural to wonder what will become of Arnie’s prized possessions on what would have been his 90th birthday.

That’s a lingering question as his family, friends and those who run his businesses and foundation gather at Bay Hill in Orlando and in Palmer’s hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to celebrate his life Tuesday. Palmer died Sept. 25, 2016, at the age of 87.

“It’s definitely part of our strategy to find the best ways to showcase his memorabilia and to tell his story and continue to inspire people and to keep the legacy strong,” said Jon Podany, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises and president of the Arnold and Winnie Palmer Foundation.

There are a few options Podany and his team are considering. The obvious one would be to create an archive or museum to learn more about Palmer’s life either in Latrobe or at Bay Hill. During this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, fans could see some of his trophies, clubs and other curated memorabilia that told stories of his days playing at Wake Forest, serving in the Coast Guard and winning seven major championships. The experience, which included a short film about Arnie’s career, reached thousands of fans during tournament week, said Cory Britt, vice president of strategic affairs for Arnold Palmer Enterprises and the Palmers’ foundation.

The walls of Arnold Palmer’s warehouse in Latrobe, Pa., are covered with a variety of memorabilia from pictures of events and even family photos. (Tracy Wilcox/Golfweek)

Another option would be to take the Arnold Palmer experience on the road, Podany said, bringing it to the public at various PGA Tour stops or special events such as air shows, given Palmer’s passion for aviation.

Podany said they’re also considering loaning memorabilia to places who have interest, “whether that’s the USGA museum, Augusta National during the Masters or places of significance like Cherry Hills, where he won the U.S. Open, or East Lake, where he captained the Ryder Cup.”

While there’s nothing firm yet, “those are all the things we’re looking at as we try to figure out the best way forward,” he said.

After Palmer died, an estate appraiser went through the entire collection and a team of college students spent a summer tagging, photographing and cataloging everything, Britt said.

While the Golf Channel and other media outlets have reported extensively on the treasures in the warehouse, it’s still hard to imagine a collection of 19,000 pieces. Before golf bags, shoes, clubs and cardigans were placed on shelving in the warehouse, mementos from Palmer’s career were tucked in attics and basements of houses he owned. In addition to the golf equipment you’d expect to see, there are money clips, matchbooks, bag tags, pieces of artwork that were gifts from his adoring fans and thousands of other items that were once important to Palmer.

Although Britt was familiar with most of the memorabilia, he’s still finding pieces of Palmer’s past that inspire him. “I’m intrigued by his handwritten notes, anything that shows his thoughts going down on paper,” Britt said.

They’ve discovered scorecards from Augusta National with Palmer’s notes on how he played each hole. Britt shared a photo on Instagram of a check Palmer wrote to his caddie for $500 after winning the Masters in 1958.

So who created the Arnold Palmer drink?

The Arnold Palmer drink was originally created as a non-alcohol combo of ice tea and lemonade by American golfer Arnold Palmer. The idea started as a special request to a certain waitress who began to know exactly what he would order by just saying he wanted the “Mr. Palmer” — and the popularity grew from there.

The cocktail is fairly simple to make. It’s pretty much an even amount of lemonade to ice tea mixed with two ounces of vodka. And for this recipe, I use a Coconut Vodka just to add a bit more sweetness. But feel free to use a regular (non-flavored) vodka if you so prefer.

If you are looking for simple drink ideas this Spiked Arnold Palmer cocktail will go great for game days, movie nights, and just about any time.

Here are a few more easy-breezy cocktail recipes:

Big-Batch Spiked Arnold Palmers

The Arnold Palmer is a refreshing non-alcoholic mixed drink that mixes two great beverages sweet tea and lemonade. This simple mocktail that bears his name was created by the golfing legend, Arnold Palmer. The mix of tea and lemonade is a perfect match and it is so easy to prepare. While it is simple, there are many ways to improve on it, as well, and we couldn&rsquot resist tweaking an already good thing. As delicious and refreshing as the Arnold Palmer is, we &ldquosouthernized&rdquo it a bit with the addition of bourbon. To make this big batch party cocktail, start by making a pitcher of unsweetened tea &ndash (yes, readers, leave out the sugar). Add four cups of bottled lemonade, the bourbon, and simple syrup. Stir together and refrigerate until ready to serve. Pour over ice and garnish with lemon wedges and mint sprigs. This spiked Arnold Palmer is an ideal summer beverage to serve at brunches, porch parties, or bar-b-ques. Remember &ndash to make this an alcohol-free cocktail, simply leave out the bourbon.

Arnold Palmer, The King of Golf

Arnold Palmer was called "The King" because he was considered to be among the world's greatest and most popular golfers. From 1955 to 1973, he won 62 Professional Golfers Association Tour titles. He was born in 1929 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a working-class steel mill town, and was taught in his early years to play golf by his father who was a greenskeeper at the Latrobe Country Club. He won a golf scholarship to attend Wake Forest College. After graduation, he played golf but had to sell paint to support himself. In 1954, at age 25, he won the U.S. Amateur in Detroit and decided to make golf his full-time job. While returning to the club house during a tournament, he noticed a good-looking woman named Winifred Walzer and asked her to go out with him. Three days later, he asked her to marry him. She accepted, they married and remained married for 45 years until she died from ovarian cancer at age 65 in 1999.

&bull Excess Weight. If you look at his pictures over the years, you will see a very fit and slim athlete turn into a heavy person with a protruding belly. He talked about having a healthful diet with vegetables, fruits and nuts and avoiding fast foods, red meat and fried foods, but his excess weight indicates that he did not always follow his own advice. Having a big belly and small hips almost always means that a person has excess fat in his liver which can cause diabetes and, in turn, heart damage. A high rise in blood sugar after meals can damage every cell in your body. To prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high after meals, your pancreas releases insulin which lowers high blood sugar by driving sugar from your bloodstream into your liver. However, a liver full of fat does not accept the sugar and blood sugar levels remain high to cause plaques to form in arteries.

Watch the video: SportsCentury Greatest Athletes #29: Arnold Palmer (June 2022).


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