If you love iced tea, you’ll love this simple recipe. For as long as I can remember, my mom has made a large pot of this whenever she had extra mint on hand. Each time she made a pot she would tell me how this was Grandma’s go-to recipe.
You see, my Grandparents always had a garden and mint always had a place. I don’t think I ever had a chance of not having a garden (nerd alert: epigenetic inheritance). As a kid, I’d follow my grandpa around their house as he tended to their small garden. Then I would go home, dry out bell pepper seeds and plant all of them in a 4″ pot. I would be amazed at the hundreds of little sprouts a few weeks later. They never made it to the pepper stage, as my pot was over crowded.
After my boyfriend watched my several experiments with attempting to grow veggies around the house in pots & failing, the man built me a garden with irrigation. It’s approximately 9′ x 2.5′ and I GROW EVERYTHING. Sorta. Everything that Hawaii weather permits. I’m still learning a lot. But I’ve had huge successes with mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, Italian parsley, rosemary, beets & arugula. Did I mention he also had 3 citrus trees planted?
And he fell in love with my cat & adopted another one for
I never had a chance.
But I digress, make this tea! Double or triple the recipe if you’re having company. This recipe is a week worth of tea for me (if I don’t share).
Grandma’s Mint Ice Tea Recipe
- 8 cups of filtered water
- 8 Red Rose tea bags (I use decaf, because I thoroughly caffeinate in the AM & too much caffeine makes me anxious)*
- 1 handful of mint (I can’t be more specific than that. Start with a small handful & taste test until you get the minty-ness you like.)
- Optional: Honey, to taste. Approximately 1/2 – 1 tsp per cup of water. I make mine unsweetened. Grandma & Mom add honey.
*A note on tea: The only black tea that is acceptable for this recipe is Red Rose or Tetley. Don’t ever mention Lipton to my family. It’s almost as bad as bringing up politics at dinner or religion. We are all very feisty and passionate. And sarcastic. But Red Rose is numero uno. Tetley is what we buy if the market is out of Red Rose.
Pour water into a large stainless steel pot & set to high. Once the water is almost at a boil turn the heat down to low. Place the mint & tea bags into the water. Use a stainless steel spoon to mix, to ensure the tea bags are fully submerged. (I use stainless as opposed to my wood cooking spoons or silicone spatulas so I don’t accidentally make my tea taste like garlic, etc. I use a tablespoon from my silverware set. Don’t overthink it.)
Set timer for 20 minutes. Leave the lid off!
At this point, taste your tea. The tea should be strong enough so that you can pour your tea over ice & it won’t be watery. It shouldn’t be bitter. If you are happy with the flavor, remove the tea bags. If you want it stronger, check the flavor in 5-minute increments until you’re happy.
Once you’re happy, turn off the burner & leave the mint to infuse the tea. If you think you want a stronger mint flavor, now is the time to add more. If you want to add honey, now is the time to add the honey.
At this point, I generally let the tea cool on the stove for a few hours. Once the tea is cooled, pour it into a pitcher & place in the refrigerator.
When ready to enjoy, pour over a glass filled with ice & garnish with a fresh sprig of mint.