As we move past the first day of summer and the July 4th holiday and the temperatures continue to soar, it seems like a pretty good time for Arnold Palmer. Or should I say an Arnold Palmer?
It’s probably safe to say that Palmer, one of the greatest golfers of them all, is looking at age 83 at his best days in the sport in the rear view mirror. At his corporate Web site, he’s referred to as a golf immortal, sportsman, business exec, ad spokesman, aviator, and much more. But for purposes of this article his primary claim to fame is the beverage to which he gave his name.
As most people are probably aware, the drink known as an Arnold Palmer is a mix of equal parts of tea and lemonade. The facts on exactly how this delicacy came to be tend to be a little sparse and those accounts that are available tend to have the ring of legend about them. The Wikipedia version, which cites several books, suggests that Palmer was a fan of this concoction already when he happened to order the mixture during a tournament in 1960 at the bar of the Cherry Hills Country Club, in Denver. As the story goes, a woman who overheard all this ordered “that Palmer drink” and the rest was history.
Which makes for a nice story but it’s one that definitely has the feel of a myth. Earlier this year, an ABC News report quoted Palmer himself, who told a story not unlike the one mentioned above, but claimed that it all took place “at a Palm Springs, Calif., restaurant in the 1960s.” As to whether George Washington actually tossed a dollar across the Potomac, Palmer didn’t offer an opinion. But seriously.
In any event, it appears that the fame of Palmer’s namesake drink didn’t come with any fortune attached until around the turn of the century. Nowadays, Palmer has teamed up with the Arizona Beverage Company, who claim that the drink racked up about $200 million in sales in 2012 and is the fourth best-selling iced tea in the United States.
For more about the commercial version of the Arnold Palmer, cleverly dubbed Arnold Palmer Tee, look here. If you’re looking for something along the same lines but with a little bit of a kick, you might want to investigate the Arnold Palmer Hard Iced Tea Lemonade Malt Beverage.
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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