Add vodka to the famous iced tea and lemonade drink and you have a spiked Arnold Palmer. It's sometimes called the John Daly cocktail (named after another famous professional golfer) or the back nine. Whatever name you give it, this is a tall, refreshing summertime beverage that's easy to make.
A spiked Arnold Palmer requires three simple ingredients: vodka, lemonade, and iced tea. This recipe also shows you how to make a single glass of lemonade from scratch. "Bartender's lemonade" uses a basic formula of 1 part each lemon juice and simple syrup with 2 parts water, shaking it with ice for the perfect balance of sweet and sour. It's a great alternative to mixing up an entire pitcher whenever you want a glass of lemonade or need a small amount for a cocktail. You can skip that step and use premixed lemonade in the cocktail.
For the iced tea, black tea brewed with hot water, then chilled is one of the most flavorful options. Use your favorite type of tea or make sweet tea, if you prefer. Vodka is the most popular liquor in this drink—Arnold Palmer was known to prefer Ketel One—but rum, tequila, and whiskey make fine alternatives. Flavored lemonades, teas, and spirits are also fun options.
Note: While there are multiple steps to this cocktail, the recipe is broken down into workable categories to help you with preparation and assembly.
Make the Lemonade
Gather the ingredients.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour the simple syrup and water. Add the lemon juice, straining it through a fine-mesh strainer if you want to remove the pulp and seeds.
Strain into a tall glass. You should have about 8 ounces of lemonade, enough for 3 or 4 spiked Arnold Palmers. Keep the excess covered in the refrigerator until needed.
Make the Cocktail
In a highball glass filled with ice, pour the vodka.
Top with equal parts of iced tea and lemonade.
Garnish with a lemon wheel and mint sprig. Serve and enjoy!
- The average lemon yields about 1 3/4 ounces, so you'll need about 1 1/2 lemons for the lemonade (use the other half to cut the garnish). To maximize juice yield, ensure the fruit is at room temperature and roll it under your palm on the countertop before cutting the fruit.
- A rich (2:1) simple syrup will create a slightly sweeter lemonade, though a shaken 1:1 bar simple syrup doesn't require heat and is an excellent shortcut.
- To sweeten iced tea, stir in sugar while the water is still hot or add honey or agave nectar to taste.
- Switch from vodka to rum, tequila, or whiskey. Aged spirits add a deep background flavor to the drink that's quite nice.
- Use a flavored vodka. Fruits are perfect for the tea and lemonade mix, particularly berries and pomegranate. Tea-infused vodka enhances that flavor, citrus vodka complements the lemonade, and coconut vodka (or rum) adds an interesting spin.
- Pour a fruity iced tea such as raspberry or watermelon, or try something like lemon-ginger.
- Likewise, add flavor with the lemonade. Watermelon lemonade is a delicious choice, or you can give the drink a floral twist with lavender lemonade.
How Strong Is a Spiked Arnold Palmer?
Pouring more tea and lemonade will create a lighter drink. Generally, though, the spiked Arnold Palmer is pretty casual and similar to drinking a glass of wine. At it's strongest (with a 2-ounce pour of each mixer), it weighs in at about 12 percent ABV (24 proof).