Beat the heat with iced tea punches and cocktails.

Pomegranate tea punch.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Pomegranate tea punch. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

With the beginning of summer comes the perfect weather for a refreshing glass of iced tea.  Although there is no reason to become bored with good old iced tea – because of the wide range of flavored teas commercially available – tea can be used to make many other cold beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

Alcohol-free beverages include punches, virgin cocktails or “mocktails”, spritzers, and of course, the ever-popular Arnold Palmer — iced tea and lemonade mixed together in equal parts.  It is one of my favorite ways to drink iced tea in the summer!  You can also add things like rose water, orange flower water, and simple syrups flavored with mint or other herbs, orange peel or other fruits to your iced tea for more variation.  Then, there are the alcoholic punches and cocktails that contain tea; there are so many options!

Here are two great tea punch recipes.  The first one was served by the South Bay Ladies’ Tea Guild at their Pre-Raphaelite Tea Salon a few years ago.  It has remained popular with them and their guests ever since.

Pomegranate Tea Punch:

2 parts peach-flavored iced tea with rose petals
2 parts lemon-flavored mineral water or lemon-lime soda
1 part pomegranite juice

Mix the iced tea and juice thoroughly and chill.  Just before serving, pour into a punch bowl and add the lemon soda, also chilled.  Add ice and garnish with nasturtiums or other edible flowers, and lemon slices
— Elizabeth Urbach’s recipe.

You can also make floats with green tea ice cream and lemon-lime soda, which is sure to be popular with the kids.  The second recipe is an antique adults-only recipe from a book called Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks, published in 1869.

G.M. Gurton’s Punch.—1/2 pint of rum, ½ pint of sherry, ½ pint of brown brandy, 1 gill of Curaçoa, 1 pint of lime-juice, 1 gill of ginger syrup; mix together, and add to 3 pints of an infusion of weak green tea;  sweeten to taste; mix well.  This can be used either as a hot or iced drink; if iced, use more liquor, from 4 to 5 pints.

That sounds like a really strong mixture!  If you decide to make it, you should know that a “gill” is a measurement equal to 1/2 cup of liquid.  I would probably dilute it more with green tea, to make it less intoxicating in the heat.  Try that one at your next garden party or cocktail get-together!

Like what you read?  Leave a comment below, click on “Subscribe” above, visit the San Jose Tea Examiner page on Facebook, read my other blog, The Cup That Cheers, or follow me on Twitter @SanJoseTea or Pinterest!

For more information:
“Where to buy Snapple iced teas in the San Jose area”
“Greet the summer in San Jose with iced tea during Iced Tea Month”
“Now is the time for garden parties and picnics in San Jose”
“Take your tea into one of San Jose’s gardens”
“Cool off with tea ice cream”
“Bottled tea may contain fewer antioxidants than freshly brewed tea”
“Review of Haagen Dazs Sweet Chai Latte ice cream”
“Review of Haagen-Dazs Green Tea ice cream”
“San Jose kids can spend a summer afternoon with tea and books”
“Use tea in refreshing fruit spritzers this summer” 
“Review of Summer House Iced Tea from Peet’s Coffee & Tea”
“All about tisanes, or ‘herbal teas’”
“How to: make rose jelly for your tea party pantry”
“Iced tea with a lemony fizz”
“The past and the present in a punch bowl”

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