Refreshing Lemony Iced Tea on a Hot Summer Day

Here’s a refreshing and cooling beverage for the hot summer days that we are experiencing in south Louisiana. We first drank this beverage in Breckenridge, Colorado, last summer. The waiter called it an “Arnold Palmer” named after the famous golfer who ordered it so frequently on golf tournaments that is was named after him. The beverage is a twist on ice tea with a small amount of lemonade and “simple syrup” mixed in. I added mint leaves and a lemon wedge for garnish. Carefully pour the tea over lemonade and ice cubes and it makes two separate layers. The ice cubes don’t last long in this heat!. It’s a smooth and flavorful way to serve iced tea.

Remembering Letters from an Iowa Farmer Grandfather (Before the Internet)

Step outside in the middle of the day in south Louisiana and the heat cuts through the air. I can’t remember when the temperature has hovered around 100 degrees for over a week and that’s before the humidity factor is added in. It this climate change, or just a hot streak? Staying hydrated in this heat is important when you step outside; this refreshing and chilled beverage is an easy way to do that.

My weather report and analysis reminds me of my Iowa farmer grandfather. A long time ago, before the internet, my grandfather used to write letters to all his grandchildren on an old-fashioned typewriter. He’d use carbon paper so that he could type several letters at a time. Sometimes the carbon paper got put in the typewriter backwards, so you’d have to hold the letter up to a mirror to read it. The letters always started out the same way such as, “It’s been hot,” or “It’s been chilly,” or “It’s going to rain.” And so we got to know what the weather was doing in Iowa. I used to think that his letters were sort of silly — but the weather is a very important factor for a farmer. And now that I’m sounding like my grandfather, I don’t think he was silly at all.

Back to Louisiana, my garden has dried up and stopped producing most vegetables in this heat. My zinnias and sunflowers are in full bloom — about the only thing remaining in my yard. These flowers love heat and drought. And I love these colorful flowers as do the bees, hummingbirds and monarch butterflies. I planted alot zinnia variety seeds this year such as, “Cut and Come Again,” and “State Fair,” and “Giant Cactus.” I don’t remember which is what, but just enjoy them all in flower arrangements.

What do you do with this? Remember this food product?

This hot weather calls for a cool, refreshing drink and so I’m mixing up an “Arnold Palmer.” To make the recipe, you need ice tea, lemonade and simple syrup. I used Luzianne brand of tea bags and brewed my own tea. (One “family sized” tea bag and one decaffeinated tea bag makes 2 quarts of tea.) If you don’t have this brand; any black tea will work — Luzianne tea is orange pekoe which is a medium-grade black tea.

I also made my own lemonade using frozen lemonade concentrate. What is this? Unfortunately, it seems that frozen juice concentrates are being replaced by ready-to-serve carton juices. I had to search a long time to find frozen concentrate products on the grocery shelves. But frozen concentrate makes wonderful juices (orange juice, lemonade and limeade) and I hate to see their demise. This may be one food product that the millennial generation– and those even younger –ask, “what is this?” The advantage of using frozen concentrate is that I was able to make it stronger — almost double strength — so it wouldn’t be too dilute when added to the ice.

“Simple Syrup”

Since I made stronger lemonade, I added about a tablespoon of “simple syrup” to each tea glass. Simple syrup is basically “liquid sugar” or sugar which has been added to water, heated on the stove and dissolved. Then the syrup is then chilled and stored in the refrigerator. Sugar doesn’t dissolve easily in cold ice tea; using sugar which is already dissolved solves that problem.

Making the “Arnold Palmer” Drink

To finish the drink, carefully pour lemonade over ice cubes in a tall glass to about one-third full. Then slowly and carefully pour on ice tea. You’ll have two layers. Add a tablespoon or two of “simple syrup” and garnish with mint sprigs and a lemon wedge. Serve with a straw so the drink can be mixed up.

Here’s another use for mint leaves which are growing in my garden. Rub the mint leaves between your fingers (wash hands first) to bruise the leaves and release the fragrance. Wow, this is gives the drink a great flavor “pop.”

Enjoy a refreshing beverage on these hot summer days.

Refreshing Lemony Iced Tea

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients for Simple Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) water

Ingredients for Lemony Iced Tea:

  • 1 (12-oz) container Minute Maid Lemonade Frozen Concentrate
  • 4 cups (1-quart or 32 oz) water
  • 1-family sized Luzianne Regular Ice Tea bag or other black tea or Orange Pekoe tea bags
  • 1-family sized Luzianne Decaffeinated Ice Tea bag or other decaffeinated black tea bag (may substitute regular tea bag)
  • 8 cups (2-quarts or 64 oz) water
  • Mint leaves, garnish (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, garnish (optional)

Method and Steps:

  1. Make simpler syrup: Add sugar and water to small sauce pan. Bring just to boiling on stove, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Remove from stove, transfer to small container, cover and refrigerate. May make a day ahead.
  2. Make lemonade: Add Minute Maid Lemonade Frozen Concentrate to 1-quart pitcher. Add 2 cups water. Stir and let concentrate dissolve. Then add remaining 2 cups water. Place on lid and set in refrigerator to chill.
  3. Make iced tea: Place tea bags in 2-quart pitcher. Bring 2 cups water to just below boiling point on stove. Pour over tea bags in pitcher. After 5 minutes, squeeze tea bags and remove. Add remaining 6 cups of water. Stir to combine, place on lid and chill in refrigerator.
  4. When ready to make drinks, fill large glasses with crushed ice or ice cubes. Add lemonade to fill about 1/3 of glass. Carefully pour iced tea over ice and lemonade to fill to top of glass. Add 1 to 2 Tbsp of “Simple Syrup” to each glass, depending on preference. Garnish with mint leaves and lemon wedges (optional).

NOTE: An individual may rub the mint leaves between fingers (wash hands first) to bruise the leaves and release aromatic fragrances.

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