The story behind Arnold Palmer’s ‘Arnold Palmer’

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The world lost its “king” of golf last weekend, the one and only Arnold Palmer. He was a great golfer and apparently a great guy of humble stardom and humor unequaled in his day or since.

Even if you didn’t know about his many golf championships, you might well be familiar with the Arnold Palmer beverage combo of ice tea and lemonade. The Arnold Palmer beverage story goes like this:

“My wife made a lot of iced tea for lunch, and I said, ‘Hey babe, I’ve got an idea.’ You make the iced tea and make a big pitcher, and we’ll just put a little lemonade in it and see how that works. We mixed it up, and I got the solution about where I wanted it and I put the lemonade in it. I had it for lunch after working on the golf course. I thought, ‘Boy, this is great, babe. I’m going to take it when I play golf. I’m going to take a thermos of iced tea and lemonade,’” according to a documentary released by USA Today.

Palmer began to order the drink while on tour, asking servers for a splash of lemonade in his iced tea. After a woman overheard the golfer’s order at a restaurant in Palm Springs in the late 1960s, she said, “I want an Arnold Palmer. I want what he ordered.”

Arizona Beverage Co. acquired the rights to the soft drink in 2010 for more than $100 million, skyrocketing the drink’s popularity into gas stations and convenience stores around the country, some cans bearing an image of Arnold Palmer himself.

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