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.
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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)
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).