The Arnold Palmer drink combines iced tea and lemonade combine into an iconic refreshing beverage! Here’s how to make one…or a pitcher.

Arnold palmer drink

Here’s an iconic drink that’s more than the sum of its parts: the Arnold Palmer! It’s simple, but somehow the mix of zingy lemonade and earthy iced tea became legendary. There’s nothing like it on a hot day! This drink is perfectly festive and works well as a party drink or mocktail. Or, you can also make it into a cocktail by spiking it with vodka (which then makes it…a John Daly).

What’s an Arnold Palmer drink?

The Arnold Palmer is a drink invented in the 1960’s that combines iced tea and lemonade, named for the professional golfer Arnold Palmer. Apparently Palmer himself loved the combination and ordered it often, and after a woman ordered “that Palmer drink” the name was born. This classic drink went on to worldwide popularity as a refreshing non-alcoholic drink, especially popular with the golfing crowd.

How to make an Arnold Palmer drink

There’s no need for a recipe for an Arnold Palmer drink: you just need to know the ratio! What’s the ratio for an Arnold Palmer drink?

  • 3 parts unsweetened iced tea
  • 1 part lemonade

This is just the basic recipe: but it does the job! Of course, there are lots of ways to step it up. For example, homemade lemonade makes this drink sparkle. Here are some ideas!

Arnold Palmer drink

Ways to step it up: homemade lemonade and more

How to make the best Arnold Palmer drink? There are a few ways to take this drink to a new level. Here are a few ways to make a better Arnold Palmer:

  • Make homemade lemonade! All you need is fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. Stir together ½ ounce each lemon juice and simple syrup with 2 ounces water to make enough for 1 drink.
  • Consider homemade iced tea. Why not make it with this delicious iced tea recipe?
  • Squeeze in fresh lemon. Add a pop more of flavor with a few squeezes of your lemon wedge garnishes.
  • Serve with clear ice. Clear ice is crystal clear artisan style ice you can make at home and chop into large organic shapes. It makes a drink look—and taste—infinitely better.
  • Add a mint sprig garnish. Everything is better with a great garnish!

Variations on the Arnold Palmer

There are several variations on the Arnold Palmer: some well known and other more creative takes. Here are a few ideas:

Arnold Palmer drink

Or, make a spiked Arnold Palmer!

Want to make a spiked Arnold Palmer? There’s the John Daley, where you use almost equal parts of iced tea, lemonade, and vodka. But you can also just spike your drink! Here are a few ideas — reduce the iced tea to 6 ounces and add:

  • 2 to 3 ounces vodka
  • 2 to 3 ounces gin
  • 2 to 3 ounces white rum

Try an Arnold Palmer pitcher

Serving a crowd? You can make an Arnold Palmer pitcher! Simply combine 3 parts iced tea with 1 part lemonade in whatever quantity you need. For example, add 6 cups iced tea and 2 cups lemonade for 8 1-cup servings. Garnish with mint and lemon wheels, and serve!

More iced tea recipes

Love iced tea? Here are a few more tasty tea recipes:

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Arnold palmer drink

The Arnold Palmer

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The Arnold Palmer drink combines iced tea and lemonade combine into an iconic refreshing beverage! Here’s how to make one…or a pitcher.




  1. If making homemade lemonade, stir together ½ ounce fresh lemon juice, 2 ounces water, and ½ ounce simple syrup in the highball glass. 
  2. Add the lemonade to ice-filled highball glass. Pour iced tea on top and stir to combine. If desired, garnish with fresh mint.
  3. Pitcher (6 to 8 servings): Combine 6 cups unsweetened iced tea and 2 cups lemonade in a pitcher. Garnish with lemon slices and mint. 


*You can use less iced tea for a sweeter drink. To make a spiked Arnold Palmer (John Daly), decrease the iced tea to 3 ounces or less, and add 2 to 3 ounces vodka or gin. You can also use sparkling lemonade for another variation.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Drinks
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Arnold Palmer drink, What is an Arnold Palmer drink

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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