Is fruit tea a southern thing? I’m thinking so, because growing up in Boston, I don’t remember ever seeing it. It wasn’t until I moved to Tennessee (13 years ago!) that I started seeing it served at restaurants + cafes. I figured since I like both iced tea + fruit juice, I’d like fruit tea. And guess what – I was right! Except I didn’t just like it, I looooooved it. Now, any time I go to a restaurant + see fruit tea on the menu, I always order it. Every place has a slightly different recipe, but the theme remains the same – a blend of iced tea, fruit juices, + (sometimes) herbs or sweet spices.
To me, fruit tea is one of the most wonderful drinks ever. It’s got a perfect combination of sweet, tart, + citrusy flavors, + is beyond refreshing on warm, sunny days. I like mine served simply, over ice with some fruit slices + mint for garnish. But, if you’re wanting to make a fancier adults-only version, I bet it would make a great cocktail with rum! Either way, it’s quick + simple to whip up + makes a huge quantity, so it’s fantastic for all the parties, get-togethers, + cookouts that come with summertime. Give it a try – I promise you’ll love it as much as I do!
Southern Fruit Tea
makes 15 cups of fruit tea, adapted from One Particular Kitchen
two quart-size iced tea bags (I use the Tetley brand)
1 1/2 quarts (6 cups) boiling water
1 cinnamon stick
1 can (48 ounces) pineapple juice
1 can (12 ounces) frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 can (12 ounces) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
optional: orange or lemon slices + mint, for garnish
boil the water, then pour over the tea bags + cinnamon stick in a large pitcher. allow to steep for 15 minutes.
after steeping, discard the tea bags + cinnamon stick; stir in the frozen orange juice + frozen lemonade – stir until completely blended. add in the pineapple juice – stir until combined.
refrigerate until fully chilled. serve with plenty of ice + garnish with a lemon or orange slice + mint. enjoy!