The Bar Cart: The Pimm’s Palmer

It’s standard shorthand nationwide to refer to a half-lemonade, half-iced tea drink as an “Arnold Palmer,” but for me, the name has a deeper personal connection. In Latrobe, a western Pennsylvania town a few minutes away from my home, you can fly into the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport. You can buy a Cadillac at Arnold Palmer Motors. At the Latrobe Country Club, you won’t play bingo; you’ll shout “ARNIE!” if you win.

Latrobe is still home to the legendary golfer and businessman, and the city is justly proud of its native son. And though Palmer—who orders his namesake drink as a “Mr. Palmer”—actually came up with the winning combination of lemonade and iced tea in Palm Springs, California, I like to think of it as a hometown drink anyway, as native to the region as Iron City and Rolling Rock.

Arnold Palmer + Pimm's = The Pimm's Palmer, via
(Incidentally, Latrobe was also home to Mister Fred Rogers, and if you travel just a few miles further east on Route 30 toward Ligonier, you’ll be able to grab a trolley to visit Lady Elaine Fairchild, Daniel Striped Tiger, and all the other inhabitants of the Land of Make-Believe at Idlewild Park. But that’s another story.)

The standard joke, then, for this golf-inspired beverage is to say: “What do you call an Arnold Palmer with alcohol? A John Daly!” (Rimshot!) But I’m going to take the refreshing drink in a different direction for my summer cocktail this year, creating The Pimm’s Palmer by mixing it with another of my warm-weather favorites: the Pimm’s Cup, or, as my friend Lara likes to call it, “a Long Island Iced Tea for British people.” (Ha! And ouch.)

As any cocktail buff will tell you, Pimm’s is a series of British liqueurs that originated in the 19th century, each made with a spirit base—No. 1 with gin, No. 2 with Scotch, No. 3 with brandy, and so on—and infused with fruits and herbs. The original Pimm’s recipe (No. 1) is the one you’ll find at your local liquor store, as the rest have fallen to history, but it’s really the only one you’ll need for your summer drink mixin’ fun.

Arnold Palmer + Pimm's = The Pimm's Palmer, via
A traditional Pimm’s No. 1 Cup combines the spirit with lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7-Up (which the Brits call “lemonade”) and garnishes the drink with slices of cucumber, orange, and strawberry, along with fresh mint. I’m taking liberties and combining Pimm’s with actual lemonade and iced tea, along with some fresh cucumber juice for a subtle savory undercurrent. (It’s really best to use a juicer for the cucumber in the following recipe; though it’s possible to blend the cucumber and strain the pulp from the liquid, it’s not as easy as running the vegetable through a juicer’s feed tube.)

The Pimm’s Palmer is a drink equally suited to a porch with a view of rolling verdant hills and forests, an urban roofdeck party, or the 19th hole of the country club (AKA the bar just off the course). The closest I get to a golf course any given summer is the few rounds I play at Pirate’s Cove, and I can’t even master those courses and become the Arnold Palmer of the mini set, but I keep thinking that if I drink more of these, my skills will improve. Maybe I should just stick to playing ARNIE.

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  1. says

    I almost picked up some Pimm’s at the liquor store the other day but I didn’t, and now I’m kicking myself. Love this idea and can’t wait to try it!!

  2. gburg says

    I am playing Latrobe CC next month. I will see if they can make me one. Sounds great.

  3. LeeMichael says

    Now here’s a beverage I can get behind!!! Extra lemons and three cherries please!