Let me start this post by saying, I am not a tea person. Sweet tea, unsweet, hot tea, Earl Grey—I’m opposed to all. Growing up in the South, you can imagine how much slack I got for that. People would cry, “How can you be from Nashville (or anywhere in the South) and not like sweet tea??” You got me.

That being said, it came as a huge surprise when, after being forced to try it, the classic Arnold Palmer became one of my favorite summer drinks. My mom made a batch last summer, and I denied the concoction after I found out it contained sweet tea. But after some convincing (“You’ll never taste it! It’s fruity!” she said), I decided I would have a little taste. After all, I did like lemonade.

I was dumbstruck. How could something made with sweet tea, or any kind of tea for that matter, be so delicious? It was mostly fruity, with a little tang, and absolutely no tea taste. Yet it’s so simple. It’s as if the lemonade transformed that unsatisfying quality of tea into something refreshing and tasty. And what’s even better? There’s an alcoholic version! Try it with Firefly sweet tea vodka for a little more kick.

So, have my tea tastes changed? Nope. Even as I spend more time in the South, sweet tea hasn’t gained any appeal. But offer me an ice-cold Arnold Palmer on a hot day, and I’ll be more than happy to swing on the front porch with you and sip on summer.

Arnold Palmer

Iced Tea


Vodka (optional)

Preparation: Serve equal parts iced tea and lemonade over ice. Add a splash of vodka, if desired.