Here I am Googling “Texas Tea” to find out how similar all of the recipes are and to see whether I’m working from a one of a kind recipe, and lo and behold, every other form of Texas Tea is made of a bathtub full of booze and one can of Coke. I hate to disappoint. But, this is a decidedly G-rated version of Texas Tea. Although, it should have claim to the name on the grounds that it actually contains TEA. But, rest assured, even this version would probably be awesome with a tiny bit of hooch in it. But I’ll leave that up to you.
This is adapted from a recipe by the team of Bishop, Cockrell and Brock nee Ridley, Morris and Calhoun of the most excellent Junior League of Abilene’s The Best Little Cookbook in Texas. This recipe is packed with oranges, lemons, tea, and yes, a lot of sugar. But it is a tasty little concoction and received rave reviews from my entire household. It is also wonderful hot, but that is almost unthinkable in July. Just know that it can be done.
On that note, at some point some community cookbooks stopped putting the names of the recipe contributors in the books. It makes me sad. I like this one because it lists both married names and maiden names…as though these women actually existed prior to their name change. Funny. I like imagining the people who came up with these jewels. It is half the fun.
If you need to serve this drink in a hurry, there is one variation I will mention up front. You begin the preparation by boiling 8 cups of water with sugar and lemons. Instead, you can boil only 4 cups of water with the sugar and lemons and then add in ice to the warm container at the very end to make up the volume. It will help it cool down more quickly. Also, I haven’t tried this, but my excellent web advisor/sister-in-law, Valerie, suggested using agave nectar, which is soluble in water, and not have to heat it up at all. Though I think the heat does steep the citrus nicely. Use less sugar or more sugar (or agave) as your heart desires.
This is a most pleasant way to cool off this summer. Grab some fresh mint, oranges, and lemons, and make a big pitcher of this. Adults and kids alike will think you are an ethereal being sent to bring relief to the masses.
8 cups water
1-½ cups granulated sugar
2 cups strong tea (3 to 4 regular teabags in 2 cups hot water)
5 lemons, 3 juiced and 2 sliced
3 oranges, 2 juiced and 1 sliced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, sugar and one sliced lemon to a boil. Allow it to boil until all of the sugar has dissolved and then remove it from the heat, and allow it to cool.
2. In a glass, make 2 cups of strong black tea using at least 3 teabags. Let the tea steep for at least 5 minutes.
3. Juice the lemons and oranges, reserving one of each for adding to the tea in slices.
4. Strain the orange and lemon juices into a large pitcher. Add the tea, the extracts and the water and sugar mixture. Add the remaining sliced orange and lemon and stir well. This can be served hot at this point (**NO**IT IS 104 DEGREES HERE TODAY) or chilled and served over ice with a fresh sprig of mint.