Confession: I’m not nuts about sweet tea. This sounds obvious, but it’s just so sweet. I can manage about two or three glasses of it per annum- any more and I feel like I’m just inviting Type II diabetes into my life.
With that caveat now given (and the weekly tea party announcement that I’m not a doctor), I love love love this tea recipe and this usually makes up about 80% of the sweet tea I consume. I adapted this recipe very liberally from Southern Sideboards, the excellent and tragically out-of-print Junior League of Jackson cookbook.
Delta Mint Sweet Tea
7 tea bags (the cheap stuff is just fine)
Rind of 3 lemons
20 springs of mint
8 cups boiling water
Juice of 8 lemons
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
8 cups cold water
Put the tea bags, lemon rinds, and mint in a vessel that will hold at least a gallon of stuff. Pour the hot water on top and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Use your time wisely and juice the lemons now.
If you’re concerned about wasting the rinds of those extra 5 lemons, just save the peel and make candied lemon peels with them.
Pick out all those things and dump in the sugar and lemon juice in. Stir until the sugar dissolves totally, then add the cold water. This makes about a gallon.
Okay, unlike most weeks, this is not the part where I tell you what a good thing you’re doing for your body, drinking this tea. Consider this dessert, and believe me when I tell you I cut a huge amount of sugar out of the original recipe. That said, you’re going to drink the whole gallon yourself, so good it is, that it’s safest just to double this recipe from the outset.
This is a great, festive non-alcoholic addition to your Derby party, but it’s also excellent if you Irish it up with a little bit of bourbon.