The John Daly Cocktail is a perfect drink for summer…it’s an Arnold Palmer with an adult kick! A delicious combination of homemade lemonade home-brewed sweet tea and your favorite vodka, the John Daly Cocktail is light and refreshing
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I’ve talked before about how my move to Oklahoma introduced me to a whole lot of new experiences, many of them related to food, drinks and restaurants. I learned to love avocados and even venison, and discovered some of my favorite restaurants. Living here inspired me to launch this blog.
I don’t recall iced tea really being a thing in Maryland. And if you did get iced tea, it was usually super sugary sweet and just didn’t taste that good. When I moved to Oklahoma, I learned that iced tea is basically life for many people. And people are very particular about their iced tea. It needs to be homemade…and after one taste someone can tell you if it’s not. People are also very particular about whether they want sweetened or unsweet tea. Sweet tea at restaurants is normally much too strong for me, because they add a lot of sugar. Then I tried unsweet, but it took so many sugar packets to make it sweet that it wasn’t even worth it.
Then I learned about the Arnold Palmer. The first time my friend Shan ordered it at a restaurant I was super confused, because the only Arnold Palmer I knew about was the golfer. That’s when I learned that an Arnold Palmer is half iced tea and half lemonade. I still didn’t get the excitement, because I still rarely drank tea and almost never drank lemonade.
One day 2 years ago I decided to do a blog post about the Arnold Palmer. I figured since it’s a big deal, I should capitalize. As I made the tea and lemonade, I decided to take it up a notch and make it into a Boozy Arnold Palmer. I just knew that I had a hit, and that nobody else had come up with the idea. Of course I was wrong. Other people did have the idea, and it even has its own name. But I decided to do it anyway, and made the John Daly Cocktail
I’ve read that John Daly was not too happy that a drink was named after him. However, I think it’s more because nobody got his permission before doing it. And of course, when someone’s not happy that means the drink will be even more popular!
KEYS TO THE PERFECT JOHN DALY COCKTAIL
- Make your own iced tea and lemonade. It makes a huge difference in taste, and both are super simple
- I make the lemonade a day ahead, using slices of fresh lemon and water. For 4 cups of lemonade I use 2-3 lemons, depending on the size of the lemons. I do not sweeten the lemonade when I’m using it strictly as an Arnold Palmer or John Daly, but of course it’s personal preference
- You only need to make the tea a couple of hours ahead. You can use Tea Bags or Iced Tea Bags. I’ve used both, and use them interchangeably. Regardless, I get the unsweetened so that I can sweeten to my own preference. Simply steep the tea bags in boiling water for about 5 minutes, and then I add cold water and finish chilling in the fridge. I sweeten the iced tea with Demerera Sugar because that’s what I use in my coffee and I really like it. Of course, you can use regular White Sugar.
- I use more iced tea than lemonade in my John Daly Cocktail, because I like the punch of flavor from the tea. It’s all personal preference, so experiment with different percentages until you get your perfect combination
- I like to keep the iced tea and lemonade separate, and make the John Daly Cocktail or Arnold Palmer when I’m ready to drink it. Also, when you’re serving it at a party, it allows guests to make it to their preference
- I add mint to my John Daly Cocktail, because I have a mint plant in my backyard and never know what to do with it.
JUST ONE STEP FROM AN ARNOLD PALMER TO A JOHN DALY COCKTAIL
Vodka is what turns an Arnold Palmer into a John Daly Cocktail. I use Tito’s vodka for the John Daly Cocktail when I’m entertaining. I usually reserve Grey Goose for when it’s just for me, because Goose is quite a bit more expensive. If you have another favorite vodka, then definitely use it. I wouldn’t recommend a flavored vodka, unless you use one that has a lemon flavor. Otherwise, it will change the final product. And the best thing about this drink is that you can make a big batch of Arnold Palmers…the kids can drink it as-is, and the adults can add vodka to make it a John Daly Cocktail!
Of course the John Daly Cocktail is perfect for those hot summer days. But really, it’s a great drink all year round
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 2 unsweetened iced tea bags
- 2 large lemons
- vodka (I use Grey Goose)
- cold water
- sugar, to taste (I use 2 Tablespoons)
- fresh mint, for garnish
Slice lemons into 1/4" slices and add to a 1L glass decanter. Fill with water, and let rest overnight in the fridge
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Pour water into a heat-proof pitcher, add tea bags, and steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add sugar, to taste. Pour in 4 cups cold water to dilute iced tea. Stir well, and chill in fridge for one hour
TO MAKE ONE DRINK: Add ice cubs in a tall glass. Pour 4 ounces of iced tea; 2 ounces of lemonade, and 1 ounce of vodka. Stir, and garnish with a lemon slice and mint