Arnold Palmer Drink (Iced Tea Lemonade)

The Arnold Palmer is refreshing summer drink made with a combination lemonade and iced tea, but the right ratio is absolutely key to making this classic drink!

two arnold palmers and a cutting board with lemons

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Iced tea lemonade recipe — AKA the Arnold Palmer

Salt or pepper? Peanut butter or jelly? Cream or sugar? Well, why should you have to decide? The best of both worlds is always better, in my opinion.

The same is true for lemonade and iced tea. These two go together like a horse and carriage.

Did you know that if you mix these two together it’s called an Arnold Palmer? It was the famous golfer’s favorite drink. It’s also known as a “Sunjoy” at Chick-Fil-A and the “iced tea lemonade” at Starbucks.

Whatever you call it, it’s a classic summer drink. Let’s get to know the history, how to make it and the best ratio.

Why you’ll love this recipe

If you can never decide between tea and lemonade, this drink is for you! I think you will love it because…

  • Iced tea and lemonade are two of the most refreshing drinks out there. Together, they’re a force!
  • Though you can buy it at the store, perfecting the perfect Arnold Palmer ratio is even better.
  • You can tweak the recipe with your favorite type of tea, preferred sweetness level, additional flavors or even a little alcohol to spike it.

This drink is perfect for a hot summer day, and works well for all kinds of summer parties.

an arnold palmer with a green and white straw

What is an Arnold Palmer drink?

The Arnold Palmer drink is named for the professional American golfer, Arnold Palmer. Nicknamed “The King,” he was one of the sport’s most popular players who won 62 PGA Tour Titles between 1955 and 1973.

He often ordered and drank a combination of lemonade and unsweet iced tea, which earned the nickname of “The Arnold Palmer.” I can see why he loved it — it’s perfect for a hot day on the golf course!

Even though Palmer died in 2016, the drink named for him lives on. However, there are a few other names for this non-alcoholic beverage.

First there’s the Winnie Palmer, named for Arnold Palmer’s first wife. This recipe uses sweet iced tea instead of unsweet.

The restaurant chain Chick-Fil-A has its own version of the drink called the Sunjoy that uses sweetened iced tea, though customers can customize it with unsweetened tea or diet lemonade.

At Starbucks, the drink is called the Iced Tea Lemonade and is made with black tea and lemonade, then sweetened with simple syrup. Starbucks baristas can customize it with flavored teas and syrups to make different flavor combinations on this delicious drink.

And if you add alcohol — usually vodka — it’s called a John Daly, named for another famous professional golfer.

However you make it and whatever you call it, this iced tea lemonade recipe is the ultimate summer beverage full of ice-cold refreshment. It is definitely one of the summer classics!

a hand holding 10 tea bags

Ingredients

Besides ice, you only need two simple ingredients to make an iced black tea lemonade — regular black tea and lemonade! Pick them up from your local grocery stores or get the ingredients to make them yourself.

Lemonade

Along with iced tea, sweet and tart lemonade is the co-star of this refreshing drink.

You can use store-bought lemonade, absolutely, or even a lemonade concentrate. But a drink is only as good as its ingredients, and when there are only two, quality matters.

I have found the best lemonade to be a homemade lemonade recipe made with fresh lemon juice and pure sugar.

However, a store-bought works just as well. An organic lemonade or a brand with a short ingredient list will probably taste the best. Keep an eye out for concentrates and strange ingredients.

Iced tea

Technically the Arnold Palmer uses unsweetened black tea, but if you want a sweeter drink you can use sweet tea.

Personally, I like to use cold-brew iced tea. I love this method because it’s not as bitter as hot-brewed tea that has cooled down. It is made with cold water, black tea bags (or loose-leaf tea). It takes some time to steep but it makes a big difference in flavor.

You can also make tea with boiling hot water. You will need 1 tea bag or 1 teaspoon of loose-leaf tea for every 6 to 8 ounces of water, depending on the desired strength. Let the tea steep and then discard tea bags when it’s your desired flavor.

Usually iced tea lemonades are made with black tea, but if you want to get creative and try this with green tea or herbal tea, you absolutely can.

a lemon in an arnold palmer drink

Best ratio for an Arnold Palmer

The best ratio for an Arnold Palmer comes down to personal preference. There are a few ratios to try:

  • 1:1 — Fill the glass with ice, then fill it with half lemonade and half tea.
  • 1:2 — Add lemonade ⅓ of the way with lemonade, then top with tea.
  • 1:3 — Fill the glass ¼ full of lemonade, then top with tea.

My favorite ratio is the 1:2 ratio, because it feels perfectly balanced to me!

The ratio you use will depend on how sweet you like your Arnold Palmer drinks. If you are using unsweetened iced tea, it can help to tamp down on the sweetness of the lemonade.

For more lemon flavor, stick to the half-and-half ratio or use less tea.

If you’re worried about the ice watering it down, try making tea ice cubes that will melt into a stronger tea flavor.

How to make an Arnold Palmer

The Arnold Palmer is a super simple recipe! This two-ingredient drink is a delightfully refreshing beverage no matter what ratio you use.

  1. Fill a glass with ice. You can use a short glass or a tall glass.
  2. Pour in lemonade, about halfway or your favorite ratio. Then top with your favorite iced tea.
  3. Stir it up, garnish your lemonade iced tea with lemon slices, fresh mint leaves or fresh fruit.
lemons and mint in a glass of iced tea lemonade

Variations and substitutions

There are so many ways you can make this sweet tea lemonade recipe!

Winnie Palmer: Use sweet tea instead of unsweetened tea.

John Daly / Spiked Arnold Palmer: Add 1 ½ounces of vodka and shake it up in a cocktail shaker. You could also use rum or limoncello.

Sugar-free Arnold Palmer: Use your favorite sugar-free sweetener, such as Stevia, to make your own lemonade and iced tea.

Arnold Palmer Punch: Multiply the recipe and serve it in a large pitcher to make a big batch for a party.

Flavored Arnold Palmer: Add some pizzazz to this easy drink by adding a flavored lemonade or a flavorful iced tea. Try subbing in one of these options:

Another great option is to add some flavored simple syrup for an extra layer of flavor.

More mocktail recipes

Let me know if you try this recipe! I would love it if you would leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review or comment below to tell me how it goes.

two arnold palmers and a cutting board with lemons

Arnold Palmer Drink (Iced Tea Lemonade)

Yield: 6 ounces
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Cool down on a hot day with an Arnold Palmer drink, an iced tea lemonade combination that is full of refreshment.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces lemonade
  • 4 ounces unsweetened iced tea
  • ice
  • lemon slices, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Fill a glass with ice. You can use a short glass or a tall glass.
  2. Pour in lemonade, then top with your favorite iced tea.
  3. Stir it up, garnish your lemonade iced tea with lemon slices, fresh mint leaves or fresh fruit.

Notes

The best ratio

The best ratio for an Arnold Palmer comes down to personal preference. There are a few ratios to try:

  • 1:1 — Fill the glass with ice, then fill it with half lemonade and half tea.
  • 1:2 — Add lemonade ⅓ of the way with lemonade, then top with tea.
  • 1:3 — Fill the glass ¼ full of lemonade, then top with tea.

The ratio you use will depend on how sweet you like your Arnold Palmer drinks. If you are using unsweetened iced tea, it can help to tamp down on the sweetness of the lemonade. If you prefer more lemon flavor, stick to the half-and-half ratio or use less tea.

Variations and substitutions

Winnie Palmer: Use sweet tea instead of unsweetened tea.

John Daly / Spiked Arnold Palmer: Add 1 ½ounces of vodka and shake it up in a cocktail shaker. You could also use rum or limoncello.

Sugar-free Arnold Palmer: Use your favorite sugar-free sweetener, such as Stevia, to make your own lemonade and iced tea.

Arnold Palmer Punch: Multiply the recipe and serve it in a large pitcher to make a big batch for a party.

Flavored Arnold Palmer: Add some pizzazz to this easy drink by adding a flavored lemonade or a flavorful iced tea.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 26Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

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