Summer Days

In the last 10 years or so, my mom wasn’t much of a drinker. In her younger days, she stayed sane by enjoying a bottle of wine with the neighbor. But as she aged, she stopped drinking pretty much all together except for an occasional Kaluha and milk. She did, however, love her McDonald’s Diet Coke or Sweet Tea, especially when smuggled into the movies in giant ziplock bags shoved into my Mary Poppin’s purse.

I had gotten onto this kick a few summers ago where I would make all kinds of delicious iced teas. My mom was my personal taste tester. She loved when I experimented with something new and a little bit different. Her personal favorite was mint iced tea. It was refreshing and bold and full of flavor. She liked it sweetened whereas I preferred the mint on its own without the sugar. What to do? What to do?

I began making the tea unsweetened and then made a mint infused simple syrup so my mom could add it to taste. I pulled out all the ingredients today to brew this super refreshing concoction. I had forgotten how much I loved it. I had forgotten how much it reminded me of summer days and hanging out in the yard with my family. My first sip of the strong tea with mint flavor notes quenched my thirst and wet my appetite for more of those days.

Mint Iced Tea

4 tea black tea bags (I prefer Barry’s Breakfast but have made it many times with Lipton)
4 mint herbal tea bags (I like Bigelow)
5 cups cold water
10 additional cups of cold water and/or ice
3/4 cup cold water
3/4 cup sugar
mint leaves

  1. In a medium sauce pot, heat 5 cups cold water and a small handful of mint leaves and stems until boiling.
  2. Add the tea bags and steep for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the teabags and let cool.
  4. After cooled a bit, transfer to a 1 gallon container similar to this filled with ice–I usually leave the mint in the tea.
  5. Add additional water to top off.
  6. Store in the fridge.
  7. In a small sauce pan, bring 3/4 cup of cold water and 3/4 cup of sugar to a boil along with a small handful of mint leaves and stems.
  8. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved and it is crystal clear.
  9. Let cool.
  10. Strain and transfer to a small container with a lid easy for pouring similar to this.
  11. Store in the fridge–I usually put it in a small bowl in case it leaks as it is sticky.
  12. To serve, fill a glass with ice and add tea. Sweeten to taste and stir.
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