Nothing says summer like a pitcher full of refreshing southern iced tea. This recipe flavored with homemade orange syrup is perfect for lazy summer days on the porch, your summer barbecue cookouts and parties!
Ah, iced tea! Our favorite beverage to order when dining out. Boy especially loves it (and, I let him have it!). Good iced tea is a source of pride at any good southern barbecue joint. And why not? It’s easy to make, sweet, cold and absolutely refreshing.
Last year, we survived summer on pitchers of iced tea sweetened with peach syrup, which was made with farm-fresh organic peaches that we picked ourselves. When peaches are not in season, I like a generous squeeze of lemon in my iced tea. And that got me thinking, how about some orange iced tea?
Unfortunately, we do not have orange orchards anywhere near us, so I have to make-do with store-bought ones. I put Boy’s favorite little mandarin oranges to good use here. He didn’t mind because he got to have iced sweet tea!
Whenever I am making flavored iced tea at home, I brew the tea, make the fruit syrup and store them separately if we are not consuming them at once.You do not want the citrus peels sitting in your tea for many days. You want them fresh, juicy and bursting with flavor!
But if you are serving this at a party, feel free to mix them all up in large pitchers and just place glasses within reach of the guests. I like to add lots of orange slices and fresh mint leaves in my glass of tea as well.
Nothing can be simpler than making iced tea at home. Really, you must steer clear of those flavored “tea” powders and try making them from scratch, like this recipe. Trust me, you will not go back to ready-made mixed drinks.
The full force of summer heat is yet to hit Texas, but it will be here soon. We have been inundated with rains recently. But yesterday was bright, sunny and humid – the perfect day to sit and sip iced tea on the porch.
- Water - 8 cups, divided
- Black tea - 4 tsp (or use 3-4 tea bags)
- Orange juice - 1½ cups, freshly squeezed (use any sweet variety)
- Sugar - 1 cup
- Ice cubes – as needed (to serve)
- Orange slices - from 1-2 oranges, to garnish
- Mint leaves - a few sprigs, to garnish (can also use fresh rosemary)
- In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add the tea, stir and remove from heat. Cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain with a fine mesh sieve, cool this black tea to room temperature. Combine with 4 more cups of water in a large pitcher or beverage bottle and store in the refrigerator to chill.
- In a saucepan, bring orange juice and sugar to a gentle boil. Continue boiling for 5 minutes till sugar dissolves and syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat, strain the syrup (if your oranges were pulpy) and bring to room temperature. If not using immediately, store the orange syrup in a tightly closed glass jar in the refrigerator till needed.
- To make a serving of iced tea, add ice cubes to a large glass and fill ¾th of the way with the cold black tea. Fill the rest of the way with the chilled orange syrup. Add a couple of slices of orange and fresh mint leaves. Stir and enjoy!
- To mix a large batch, fill pitcher one-third of the way with ice cubes or cold water. Add cooled tea, orange syrup, orange slices and lots of mint leaves.
2. You can make lemon iced tea in a similar manner, but reduce lemon juice to ½ or ¾ cup.
Your search for the perfect summer beverage ends right here!
Do you like sweet iced tea? Do you like flavored tea? Have you tried making them at home? Do share.
Here’s more for you.
- Take a look at my super popular peach iced tea recipe as well.
- For more cool recipes, take a look at my beverages page.
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