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When Did You First Have an Arnold Palmer?

A current thread about where to get an Arnold Palmer on the San Francisco board brought back some good memories for me.

While it seems like the Arnold Palmer craze is just a few years old, we used to get them at our swim club in RI back in the 1960s. They weren't called Arnold Palmers back then; you just asked for a "Blend." But it was half-lemonade, half-iced tea.

Kinda interesting that it took so long for such a simple, refreshing concoction to really break out.

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  1. I'd never heard of it before I saw it on a menu yesterday. And now I see it in two places today! Did someone famous drink one recently or something?

    People always used to ask for half lemonade/half tea at the amusement park where I worked, but it wasn't called an Arnold Palmer (in the early 90s). And he's from where I grew up, which seems odd.

    1. I've never heard of this before today. Given the description, I hope to try one as never as possible.

      1. The first time I had an Arnold Palmer was, of all places, at a Souplantation. The branch had a very hands-on manager, and she was roaming the tables and suggested it as a refill. She supplied the name as well. Instant addiction. This was about 8 or 9 years ago in LA. They have become pretty standard here in the last 4 or 5 years.
        However, for a number of years, and this was absolutely invariable: if I asked for an Arnold Palmer, the waiter would look at me blankly, but if I asked for "half iced tea, half lemonade" the waiter would always respond "oh, an Arnold Palmer!"

        1. I prefer the Tiger Woods they serve at the Four Seasons

          1. Nantucket Nectars used to make a 1/2 and 1/2 that I discovered in college (in Connecticut) and loved. Then when I moved back to L.A., I discovered the same thing was called an Arnold Palmer and I could get it at just about any restaurant. It's a very L.A. drink for some reason, in my head.

            1. About 5-6 years for me. I think it's bigger in LA which is where I first heard of it...you know LA it's much cooler to know the name. I think it's a natural to warmer weather. Great alternative to soda.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ML8000

                Well, Los Angeles has no problem stealing from Rhode Island, does it? James Woods is a prime example. :)

                1. re: Bostonbob3

                  LA steals from everyone...yet people keep showing up. Any way, I think most people in LA would be happy for RI to take back James Woods.

              2. Psh. Give me a Pimm's Cup or a shandy any day!

                2 Replies
                1. re: MuppetGrrl

                  Me too I'll take a Shandy.

                  Funny, I'm from RI and never heard of the Arnold drink.

                  First time I ever heard of a Shandy was in Newport RI. I sat next to some cruise ship people from England and they ordered one. Got to chatting and I did too.

                  1. re: hummingbird

                    I ordered a shandy in a "British" pub in Huntington Beach, California once and was given beer with ginger ale. It was disgusting.

                    I do like a shandy now and then, but hate Pimm's cup -- any amount of gin makes the entire drink taste like pine needle juice.

                2. In Phoenix Arizona about 6 years ago. Actually, it was Vodka, PINK lemonade and iced tea and was called the Dinah Shore or 'the Lady Golfer' depending upon the age of the customer the bartender was serving. (younger patrons had no idea who Dinah was.)

                  1. We first had this concoction at Johnny Reb's (soul food) in southern California, but there it was called "Swamp Water." :)

                    1. We used to drink this all the time while I was growing up out West. Only heard it called the AP recently, like within the last year.

                      1. Just like you, I remember drinking them in the 60s too. Although at my dads country club they were called half-and-halfs. Didn't start hearing them referred to as APs until a few years ago.

                        1. Not called an Arnold Palmer, but a half n' half, they've been served in soul food places for years.

                          1. In college, back in the early 90's. The restaurant I was at called them "Dishwaters" based on the lovely color I assume.

                            Now I'll order them when I want something sweeter than my plain ice tea, but not so sweet as a soda.

                            1. Shake Shack in NYC--first time heard of and tasted. I am a lemondade lover but the iced tea part leaves me cold. Then, I am not an iced tea fan.

                              1. lol....I've been making my own Arnold Palmers for years, long before I knew there was a name for the drink......sometimes at places that have serve your own drinks I'll just mix it up (usually not the best lemonade, but oh well...). It was just fairly recently that I learned what I was drinking had a name: I went to BJ's BarBQue in Sparks, NV (A common lunch hangout for me; its practically next door to my office)..and since they make their own lemonade I asked the server if she could mix it half-and-half with iced tea. "Oh," says she: "You want an Arnold Palmer!" I swear I had never heard the name......

                                1. I had my first one maybe 5+ years ago. Saw the temp at my job order it, and thought it was cool to have a drink that "sounded alcoholic, but wasn't".

                                  On top of that, I always thought lemonade was too tart, and iced tea too bland (i refused to add sugar). This was perfect. Never a question when I order it, and I've influenced all my friends who want an alternative to water and soda. It rocks.

                                  Guess next time I'll try a Tiger Woods, and see what the heck the bar brings back . . . .

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: pizookie75

                                    Perhaps a touch of sesame oil? Kimchi?

                                  2. Since the late 70s I've been getting it at soul food joints in Washington, DC by ordering a "half n half."

                                    1. First and only was at Boulevard in San Fran about 5 years ago.

                                      1. In the alps they have "alpen rausch " .. half beer , half lemonade...and you ski waaay better after it ..

                                        1. Rush Limbaugh used to advertise Snapple on his radio show.

                                          He used to refer to the lemonaide iced tea as the Arnold Palmer. This was probably in the early 90s.

                                          1. Here in the wild west we call 'em Swamp Water. Most savvy people know what you're ordering.