There’s not much better than an ice-cold glass of iced tea on a hot summer day!
The key to that sentence was “not much” as there is in fact something better – hard iced tea.
The history of iced tea in America dates back to South Carolina in the late 1700’s when the French botanist, Andre Michaux, imported and planted the first tea plants in what is now known as the Middleton Place Gardens. Shortly after the plants arrival, American cookbooks began popularizing cold tea recipes usually mixed with hard liquor in what were called punches.
A typical American tea punch recipe found in the 1839 cookbook, The Kentucky Housewife, by Mrs. Lettice Bryanon:
“Tea Punch – Make a pint and a half of very strong tea in the usual manner; strain it, and pour it boiling (hot) on one pound and a quarter of loaf sugar. (That’s 2 1/2 cups white sugar) Add half a pint of rich sweet cream, and then stir in gradually a bottle of claret or of champagne. You may heat it to the boiling point, and serve it so, or you may send it round entirely cold, in glass cups.”
We’ve come a long way since 1839, so we’ve put together some iced tea cocktail recipes you can make yourself for a variety of different hard iced tea flavors perfect for delicious refreshment during the hot summer days!
- 1½ oz. Gin
- 2 oz. Earl Grey Tea (freshly brewed, chilled)
- Splash of lemon juice
- 1 tsp. Sugar (to taste)
- Garnish: lime wheels
- Pour the ingredients into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice.
- Stir well.
- Garnish with lime wheels.
Irish Tea Party
- ¼ oz. Absinthe
- 1 oz. Irish whiskey
- 4 oz. Green tea (sweetened and chilled)
- Garnish: lime slice
- Pour the absinthe into a rocks glass. Tilt and rotate the glass to swirl the absinthe around the inside of the glass. Tip the glass to allow the absinthe to reach the rim of the glass, continuing to swirl. Once the glass is completely coated, pour out the remaining absinthe.
- Add ice and pour the whiskey over it.
- Add the green tea and garnish with a lime slice.
Spiked Raspberry Iced Tea
- 8 cups Water
- 2 Family-sized tea bags or 6 regular-sized
- ½-1 cup Granulated sugar
- ¼ tsp. Baking soda
- 1¼ cups Chambord Liqueur
- ½ cup Vodka
- Mint springs, raspberry, oranges, etc. for garnish
- Bring water to a boil then remove from the heat.
- Add the tea bags, cover and let steep (soak) for 15 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags then add the sugar and baking soda, stir until sugar dissolves.
- Add in Chambord and Vodka if desired
- Let the tea cool
- pour into ice-filled glasses.
- Garnish with your choice of a mint sprig, raspberries, or orange wheel
Jalisco High Tea
- 1½ oz. Reposado Tequila
- 1½ oz. Lemon verbena tea (chilled)
- ¼ oz. Cherry Liqueur
- ½ oz. Simple syrup
- Splash lime juice
- In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine all of the ingredients.
- Shake well.
- Strain over fresh ice into a highball glass and enjoy.
Hard Citrus Iced Tea
- 1 Black tea bag
- 1½ cups Water
- 1½ oz. Citroen Vodka
- 1 Tbsp. Honey (or agave or 1 pack of artificial sweetener)
- 1 Lemon wedge
- Mint for garnish
- Boil the water.
- Add the tea bag and honey and let steep for 5 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill. You can also add the tea to a shaker with ice and shake for a minute to chill the tea immediately.
- In a large glass with ice, add the sweetened tea along with the vodka and a squeeze of the lemon wedge.
- Stir and garnish with mint.
Hard Sweet Tea
- 2 oz. Sweet tea vodka
- ½ oz. Simple syrup
- ½ oz. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 4 oz. Fresh-brewed iced black tea
- Lemon wheel
- Shake all ingredients together with ice in a cocktail mixer.
- Strain into a highball glass filled with ice cubes.
- Garnish with a lemon wheel or mint sprig.
Rum Tea Dumpty Cocktail
- 12 oz. Sweet tea
- 3 oz. White rum
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh lemon juice
- Ice as needed
- Lemon slices for garnish
- Place the iced tea in a liquid measuring cup. Add in the rum.
- Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir.
- To serve, pour into two cocktail glasses (with ice, if needed) and garnish with lemon slices.
Sweet Tea Vodka Lemonade Mojito
- 4 oz. Sweet tea vodka
- 1 Lemon
- 10-12 Fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup Lemonade (could use club soda, or a mixture)
- Squeeze each half of the lemon into two 16oz mason jars or tumblers then place lemon half in glass.
- Add 5-6 fresh mint leaves to each glass then muddle with a wooden spoon.
- Fill glasses with ice then add 2oz sweet tea vodka and 1/2 cup lemonade or club soda (or a mixture) to each glass.
- Screw on top and shake to combine or stir to combine then serve.