I’m a lucky man. While most men have a loving mother, not all can say that they grew up living in the world of a brilliant homemaker. As a 7 year-old, I pouted in the back of the car as my mom took me to every open house, home improvement store, antique shop and down every aisle in the grocery store each weekend. Little did I know that I had been receiving an education that I’d come to appreciate daily. I soaked up her energy like a sponge. I watched her agonize over paint colors for the living room, skim through stacks of home magazines, and test new recipes out on her family of guinea pigs. My father, sister, and I ate like kings and queen as I watched my mom’s face squinch up in dissatisfaction. “This isn’t right.” “She’s crazy,” we thought, because whatever it was we were eating, from marinated pork tenderloin to ooey-gooey butter cake, was always delicious.
Entertaining is the official Hunley family pastime. When I became old enough, I joined my mom in the kitchen as we rushed to make the magic happen before company arrived. She’d call me over, “Let me show you.” It was here that I would learn the most. She shared her wisdom accumulated from years of practice as she skillfully crafted feasts for our guests.
I wanted to share a treat that my mom and I love to make in the spring and summer. Fruit tea is a southern tradition—it’s refreshing, easy to make, and appealing to look at. When served in something beautiful like the Agua Fresca Barrel, this recipe will wow your eyes AND your taste buds.
Southern Fruit Tea
- 8 Family size tea bags
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 (12-ounce) can frozen pineapple juice
- 1 (12-ounce) can frozen orange juice
- 1 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade
- Garnish with a variety of fruit (Ex: lemon slices, orange slices, lime slices, pineapple chunks, cherries, or berries)
Bring 1 quart of water to a simmer in a large sauce pan. (not quite a rolling boil). Remove sauce pan from heat, add family size tea bags and cover the pan. Steep for 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and add 2 cups of sugar to the warm tea water. Stir until dissolved. Add all 3 cans of thawed juice concentrate and stir well to combine. Pour equal amounts into two one-gallon pitchers or jugs. Add enough water to each container to equal one gallon. Shake or stir well before serving.
Makes 2 gallons
Be sure to take time to garnish. A little extra effort to make things presentable will take any project from good to great. We serve the drink in acrylic stemless tumblers with skewers of fresh cut fruit. To add a pop of color, serve on a brightly colored serving tray like the Green-Pandan Tray with extra fruit on the side.
Thank you to Cost Plus World Market for giving me a great excuse to make something with my mom. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, where Mom & I are contributing to their Mother’s Day Board!