Every six months I resolve to kick my Diet Coke habit and develop a short-lived enthusiasm for a caffeinated mid-afternoon alternative. You name it, I've tried it: kombucha, yerba mate, iced tea, BibiCaffe, cold-brewed coffee, on and on. Eventually I always drift back to the real thing.
This time it's Arnold Palmers, and it's looking like this one might actually stick. The half-lemonade, half-iced-tea concoction allegedly invented by the golf legend himself has the bright citrus flavor and gentle caffeine nudge of Diet Coke, without the chemicals that are probably corroding my insides. I've been in this magical city for less than two weeks and already found two versions that could happily make me quit Diet Coke for life.
Naked Lunch: It's officially called "cinnamon sweet tea" at the North Beach sandwich shop, but the drink has enough citrus to count in my book. They infuse simple syrup with cinnamon sticks and lemon peel, then blend it with brewed black tea and lemon juice. It's vaguely reminiscent of horchata thanks to the cinnamon, and totally addictive.
Samovar Tea Lounge: Jasmine tea's tricky to work with because it's got such a dominant floral flavor, but this tea bar balances the floweriness with plenty of lemon. Just when you've had enough jasmine, citrus creeps in around the edges.
And that's just the beginning. I've heard Seasons at the Four Seasons goes so far as to make ice cubes out of lemonade and iced tea, which puts it on my short list. And then are the spiked Arnold Palmers (vodka Red Bulls for the country club set?), which I will definitely be exploring for the fun of it, starting with the Boozy Arnold Palmer Float at Park Tavern.
What's your favorite Arnold Palmer in the city? Help me stay off diet cola for good by letting me know in the comments.