Over the Fourth of July weekend, my husband and I ventured to Los Angeles to visit family and friends. We arrived at my cousin Dan and his wife Monica's house one afternoon, and Dan excitedly offered us each a glass of what turned out to be his rendition of our grandmother's "famous" mint iced tea. We gleefully gulped the cool, sweet, aromatic tea, which I hadn't had in years. It's a taste memory that will always bring me back to sitting in my grandparents' large kitchen or under the umbrella by their pool on a summer day, sipping iced tea out of a tall, colored glass. My grandmother used Lipton iced tea mix, but she lifted it above the ordinary by infusing her tea with a generous amount of mint water, which she made by pouring boiling water over a huge handful of fresh mint that she'd just picked from the garden.
Inspired by Dan's brilliant -- and timely -- recreation of my grandmother's tea, I decided to make some myself at home las t week using tea bags instead of mix (you can use either -- I won't judge!). While I was thinking about writing this post, I also remembered that a neighbor and I had a conversation recently about a concoction she often throws together involving iced green tea and orange juice. I decided to try that as well, only adding some sparkling water for a little fizz. Both teas are lightly sweetened, so feel free to adjust to your taste. But make sure to serve both over plenty of ice!
Mint Iced Tea
Makes 1 quart
- 2 tea bags, or the equivalent in loose tea (I used English Breakfast, but you can really use any tea you like)
- 1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
- 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar (turbinado is good here, but you could also use honey or agave)
- Lemon slices for serving
Orange Green Tea Sparkler
- 1 green tea bag, or the equivalent in loose tea
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 orange wedge for serving
- Sparkling water
Like this post? Read Merrill's post from last week: Boozy Sour Cherries.