A tall glass of fruit tea is the perfect way to welcome the warming months of spring.
Southern tea is a classic, there's no doubt. But add fruit juices and garnish with a luscious red strawberry or piece of fresh pineapple, along with, naturally, a sprig of mint, and it's springtime in a glass. Nothing is more refreshing.
Most recipes for fruited teas include some combination of orange, pineapple and lemon juices, though, as always, there are many variations. My favorite recipe is no different, though I love to add a shot of maraschino cherry juice to augment the flavor. The cherries also make a lovely garnish when skewered on a toothpick along with that de rigueur sprig of mint or a slice of fresh fruit.
This fruit tea is one that you'll want to keep in the refrigerator through the summer - and maybe year-round. It's a perfect beverage for a luncheon - nothing's better than a chicken salad sandwich and glass of fruit tea - or for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Southern Fruited Iced Tea
5 tea bags
4 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
1/8 cup cherry juice from a jar of maraschino cherries
Lemon, orange or pineapple slices, mint and maraschino cherries, for garnish, if desired
Bring water to a rolling boil, then remove from heat. Add tea bags, and steep for 5 minutes. Squeeze tea bags into hot water, and discard tea bags. Set the tea aside to cool slightly. To a 2-quart pitcher, add the warm tea, and stir in sugar until dissolved. Add the pineapple juice, orange juice, lemon juice and cherry juice. Fill the pitcher with ice, top off with water, only if needed, to fill the pitcher, stir and serve. Garnish with a slice of fruit and a cherry, if desired. Makes about 1/2 gallon; easily doubled.
New on the market
Ice buckets are one of those kitchen/bar items that you don't think too much about until you need one. For years, I've used an old, white plastic container that was the liner for an silver ice bucket we received as a wedding gift decades ago. The "silver" chipped and looked awful, but the liner had no leaks and worked OK - just didn't look very attractive on the bar and certainly didn't keep the ice from melting.
Now, I have a new ice bucket that, compared to the old white bucket, seems like a space-age invention. Rabbit, maker of bar accessories, has a new, double-walled ice bucket that doesn't sweat, so it keeps your bar area dry. It's insulated, so ice stays frozen, even until the following day. And a clever rim enables the lid to rest on top of the bucket when it's in use.
This new ice bucket is perfect for filling glasses of fruit tea or any other beverage. It retails for $30 and is available at RabbitWine.com.
Email Anne Braly at firstname.lastname@example.org.