Home-brewed citrusy Earl Grey iced tea, lemonade and lemon vodka (purchased or homemade) combine to make a classic John Daly drink summer sipper. A great cocktail to beat the heat!
The first time I recall having an Arnold Palmer was poolside at the deluxe Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs. I was attending Barbecue University with grilling and smoking luminary Steven Raichlen which was a half day affair for three days leaving the afternoons free to explore and relax.
On one afternoon my family and I hung out by the pool for the kids to swim and me to vegetate on a cushy lounge under sprawling sun umbrellas.
There was a light breeze blowing and a charming young pool attendant making the rounds with complimentary Arnold Palmer’s for guest wishing a cool down. If you have not had one an Arnold Palmer is a non-alcoholic drink of half iced tea and half lemonade named after the famous golfer.
It’s a wonderful mix of lemony tea that is a great to take the edge off the heat. I knew right then I’d be sharing them on my blog at some point.
What’s in an Arnold Palmer Drink?
As our summer temp’s begin to spike, and making Sun Tea becomes a norm, the Arnold Palmer popped to mind again.
However, my idea was to add booze to it, lemon vodka to be specific. Homemade Lemon-Infused Vodka was one of the first liquor infusions I shared on Boulder Locavore and remains a favorite to date.
I make multiple batches a year and find it works so well in many cocktails from something simple like a Vodka Tonic (for a bright, fresh flavor), something fun like Summer Picnic Lemonade Cocktail or more specific cocktails with multiple ingredients.
The Arnold Palmer was named after the golfer who became known to frequently request this drink combination at various golf club houses.
It also became a springboard for spin-offs, of course many including booze. The John Daly is a classic example.
What’s the Story Behind the John Daly drink?
In the mid-1990’s a down home golfer, John Daly, gained public popularity on the golf scene. His approachable manner garnered him great public following especially with recreational golfers.
Personal issues with alcohol emerged and are most likely the foundation of the official naming of the John Daly version of the Arnold Palmer which includes vodka. There are actually several versions including different types of liquor from the Juan Daly (with tequila), and a Southern version uses sweet tea and bourbon.
Daly was apparently not thrilled at the formalization of the cocktail (he had cleaned up the drinking issues by this time and favored straight Diet Coke instead) when it began to appear on menus in the early 2000’s.
He threatened on Twitter that any use of his name was a trademark infringement however quickly turned that around to create a business with some partners selling the ‘Original John Daly Cocktail’ in three flavors.
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
My spinoff of the original includes Earl Grey tea (decaffeinated or with caffeine) which has a natural citrus flavor perfectly complementing the lemonade and lemon vodka.
The iced Earl Grey tea may be made regularly with boiling water and allowing it to cool, or by the sun tea method (both methods included in the recipe below).
It’s a refreshing, cooling, lemony drink that maintains a cool looking separation between the liquids until stirred. The sweetness of the lemonade provides no extra sweetener is needed. It’s a great cocktail to sip in the late afternoon hours of a steamy summer’s day.
Don’t Want the Booze?
For those not wishing to have the liquor, exclude the vodka for a classic Arnold Palmer made even better with the flavorful iced tea.
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Earl Grey Lemon Vodka John Daly Cocktail
- 4-5 ounces prepared Lemonade , chilled
- 4-5 ounces Earl Gray iced tea (see instructions below), chilled
- 1 ½ ounces Lemon Vodka (homemade or purchased), (chilled if desired)
- Cubed ice
- Optional garnish: lemon wheel
- Collins glass (tall 11-14 ounce glass; refer to photos)
Preparing the iced tea: Traditional method; 1 cup of water and add 1 Earl Grey teabag. Allow to steep per package recommendations. Remove and discard the tea bag; allow the tea to cool fully before using. Sun Tea: fill a large glass jar with 4 cups of water and 4 tea bags. Set it in the sun and allow to naturally steep to desired strength. Remove tea bags and chill the tea before using.
Place a few ice cubes in a tall Collins glass. Add the vodka, followed by the lemonade and the iced tea. Garnish with a lemon wheel if desired and serve with a straw.