Fruity Iced Tea Recipes
Add these refreshing drinks to your warm-weather recipe repertoire.
Photographs by James T. Farmer III and Maggie Yelton from Sip & Savor by James T. Farmer III, reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith
Imagine this: You're on a back porch, watching the summer sunshine go down. Your comfy chaise is parked right next to a tiny table with one glass on top. You reach down, raise it to your lips and…wait. What's in there?
Not water. Too boring.
Not soda. Too fizzy.
It's tea—the unofficial summertime sipper. And not just any tea, mind you, but something special like ginger peach tea punch, honeydew green tea or sweet tea Southern sangria, full of cherries, blackberries and raspberries.
Doesn't a glass sound good right about now? Make these iced tea-based drinks part of your summertime recipe repertoire.
Sweet Tea Southern Sangria
"The house wine of the South, sweet tea is thus the base for this 'sangria," lifestyle expert, author and insanely talented cook James Farmer says in his book Sip & Savor: Drinks for Party and Porch. "Taking a batch of Farmer's Tea, sun tea, herbal tea or your favorite fruit tea and infusing it with Southern summer fruits makes a gorgeous drink for all."
Makes about 1 gallon
- 1 gallon batch Farmer's Tea (see below) or your favorite tea
- 4 peaches, pitted and sliced into wedges
- 4 plums, pitted and sliced into wedges
- 2 limes, sliced into rounds
- 2 lemons, sliced into rounds
- 1 large or two small oranges, sliced into rounds
- Handful of cherries
- Handful of blackberries
- Handful of raspberries
- ½ cup mint, rosemary, lavender or ginger simple syrup (see below) to taste
Fill a large pitcher with tea and add all the fruits. Add the flavored syrup of your liking and stir to mix. Serve over ice or chilled right out of the fridge. The longer it sits, the more infusion of fruit flavor the tea takes on. It will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
Farmer's Tea Recipe
Makes about two pitchers
- 8-10 cups water, divided
- 4 tea bags of your choice
- 1 tea bag Earl Grey
- 1-½ cups sugar
- Lime wedge for garnish
Bring 6-7 cups of water to a rolling boil. Add 4 bags of tea and 1 bag of Earl Grey and remove from heat. Let the tea bags steep for about 5 minutes near the warm eye of the stove.
In a separate saucepan, add 1-1/2 cups of sugar to about 2-3 cups of water over medium-low heat; stir until sugar is dissolved and the water becomes somewhat clear syrup. Do not overboil.
Combine the steeped tea and simple syrup in a large pitcher. Fill the pot with the tea bags in it one more time with water and add that water to the pitcher. Stir and serve.
Herbal Simple Syrup Recipe
Makes 1-½ cups
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs of choice
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
Chop, mash, mince or leave whole the leaves of your herb of choice. Bring sugar and water to a boil then toss prepared herbs into the water. Allow to boil for 1 minute. Reduce the heat then simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Strain the syrup and discard the leaves. Syrup can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated indefinitely.
Ginger Peach Tea Punch
"This recipe is a summer twist on an old-fashioned cocktail," says Steve Schwartz, master tea blender and founder of Los Angeles-based crafted tea purveyor Art of Tea. "Peach adds depth and lingering sweetness to the flavor profile and the ginger adds a bright accent to the sweet, fleshy peaches."
Makes 4 8-ounce servings
- 4 teaspoons chai black tea, or 4 chai teabags
- 2 cups hot water, boiled
- 1 cup finely diced yellow peach
- 4 ounces ginger syrup*
- 4 ounces rum
- 1 cup ice
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
Brew the black tea in the water for 10 minutes. Strain and allow tea to come to room temperature. Muddle the peaches and ginger syrup. Mix tea, muddle peach and rum in a large bowl with ice. Garnish with fresh ginger and serve with a ladle.
*According to Schwartz, ginger syrup is available for purchase but can also easily be made by simmering 1 cup of sliced, fresh ginger in 2 cups of granulated sugar and 2 cups of water for 30 minutes over low heat.
Honeydew Green Tea
In Sip & Savor: Drinks for Party and Porch, James Farmer offers up a honeydew green tea as a citrus twist on tradition. "Combining elegant airs of fresh melon, crisp notes of tea and a bit of herbal sensation sweetness, this beverage is … the perfect way to unwind from the heat of the day." Even better: Farmer suggests serving it in a hollowed honeydew melon rind.
- 2 cups water
- 13 fresh herb leaves like mint, mild basil, thyme
- 4 bags green tea
- 1/3 cup simple syrup or honey
- 1 small or medium honeydew melon
- 1 ½ cups ice cubes
Bring water to a boil. Add about a dozen or so herb leaves and tea bags to the boiling water. Allow to steep for 3-4 minutes, then discard the tea bags and leaves. Sweeten the tea with simple syrup or honey. Chill tea before serving.
Scrape out the inside of the melon and add to a blender with the ice. Spoon the slushy melon puree into ice-cold green tea and garnish with herbs.