Iced Tea Recipes

Iced Tea BeveragesEnjoy Refreshing Homemade Iced Tea Beverages
(Source: ©Sasin Tipchai/

You'll love Grandma's old fashioned iced tea recipes. They make delicious iced teas that truly refresh. As a bonus, these easy-to-make beverages contain only wholesome, all-natural ingredients, and you control the sweetness.

I'm not a hot tea drinker, but I do love a tall glass of sweet iced tea, especially in hot weather. It's a drink that refreshes and satisfies. Be sure to try the iced teas flavored with mint, rhubarb, or wild strawberry. And nobody can resist the recipe for Southern iced tea. It's so refreshingly different!

Old Fashioned Iced Tea Recipes

Mom's Recipe Scrapbooks (c. 1920s)

Vintage Iced Tea IllustrationRefreshingly Unique Classic Iced Teas

Enjoy a delicious ice-cold beverage from the past. You'll find the taste much nicer than today's commercial tea beverages, and they're healthier too, as you get to control the amount of sweetener to add.

Fresh Mint Iced Tea Recipe

Fresh mint, 1 large handful; black tea leaves, 4 heaped teaspoonfuls; water, 4-1/2 cups; sugar, 1-1/2 cups; juice and rinds of 2 lemons, or 1 orange.

To make concentrate, place mint in 2-quart container and bruise slightly. Add tea leaves; boil water, and pour over mint and tea. Cover and steep 5 minutes.

To make iced tea, place 1 cup of concentrate, plus sugar and lemons or orange, in 2-1/2-quart pitcher. Fill with cold water and add ice cubes.

Rhubarb Iced Tea

Tea freshly brewed, 1 quart; juice and rinds of 2 lemons or 1 orange; 1 lemon, cut into thick wedges; sugar, 1-1/2 cups; rhubarb to taste. Mix together tea, rhubarb, lemon, and sugar. Cook until rhubarb is tender. Strain and cool. Pour over broken ice in cups or glasses. Delicious!

Wild Strawberry Leaf Iced Tea

Fragaria VirginianaFragaria Virginiana - Wild Strawberry Plants
(Source: ©Don Bell)

Take a generous handful of fresh (or dried) wild strawberry leaves (Fragaria virginiana) and steep in boiling water. Sweeten if necessary with sugar or honey. Chill. The flavor is very subtle when properly made.

Basic, Old Fashioned Iced Tea Recipe

Aunt Babette's Cook Book (1889)

Flavorful Iced Tea

Allow a teaspoonful of tea for each cup, put the tea in a porcelain-lined or china teapot, and pour as much cold water on it as you require for your tea. Set this in ice-chest for twelve hours or more.

You will find this tea more delicate in flavor than when prepared with the boiling water. It will not have any bitter taste at all, which tea made with boiling water always has, if allowed to stand any length of time.

Old Fashioned Iced Tea Recipes

Buckeye Cookery And Practical Housekeeping (1877)

Natural Ice Tea

Prepare tea in the morning, making it stronger and sweeter than usual; strain and pour into a clean, stone jug or glass bottle, and set aside in the ice chest until ready to use.

Drink from goblets without cream. Serve ice broken in small pieces on a platter nicely garnished with well-washed grape leaves. Iced tea may be prepared from either green tea or black tea alone, but it is considered an improvement to mix the two.

Lemon Iced Tea

Tea made like that for iced tea (or that left in the teapot after a meal), with sugar to taste, a slice or two of lemon, a little of the juice, and some pieces of cracked ice, makes a delightful drink. Serve in glasses.

Old Fashioned Iced Tea Recipes

The White House Cook Book (1913)

The following old fashioned recipes were once used to make refreshing iced beverages for the President and guests at the White House in Washington, DC.

Basic, Unsweetened Iced Tea

Iced tea is now served to a considerable extent during the summer months. It is, of course, used without milk, and the addition of sugar serves only to destroy the finer tea flavor. It may be prepared some hours in advance, and should be made stronger than when served hot. It is simply bottled and placed in the ice chest until required. Use the black or green teas, or both, mixed, as fancied.

Recipe for Iced Coffee

Make more coffee than usual at breakfast time and stronger. When cold put on ice. Serve with cracked ice in each tumbler.

Southern Sweet Iced Tea Recipe

Second Edition of the Neighborhood Cook Book (1914)

Southern Iced Tea

Make tea in usual fashion except that you add two whole cloves to each cup of tea before brewing. Strain, and while still hot add sugar and lemon to taste. Pour through cheesecloth.

Before serving put in each glass crushed ice, two or three sprigs of mint, which should be slightly bruised, and a maraschino cherry, and also a very thin slice of lemon with the rind left on.

Cookie's Old Fashioned Iced Tea Recipes

Calling All Girls Magazine (June 1945)

Comic-Style Drawing of a Young Girl with a Glass of Iced TeaCookie Enjoys Her Iced Tea

Now, you can make the prettiest glasses of sweet iced tea you can imagine. Simply follow the illustrated instructions for the old fashioned iced tea recipe below.

Cookie Brews Tea for Two

Comic Page Illustrating a Sweet Iced Tea RecipeCookie's Old Fashioned Iced Tea Recipes and Instructions
(PD Source: Calling All Girls Magazine - June 1945)

As Cookie demonstrates in the comic page above, fill the kettle with fresh cold water and bring to a boil. Next you scald the teapot by filling the teapot with very hot water and let stand till heated. Then empty the pot. This is so the pot won't chill the boiling water.

Measure 1 teaspoon of tea for each cup of water. When the water first boils, pour over tea in teapot and cover. Let the tea steep for five minutes. Add ice, a sprig of mint in each glass, a slice of lemon, and sugar as you like it.

After you've filled the glasses, strain the rest of the tea into a bottle. Cool and put in the refrigerator for "seconds."

If you like the "punchy" type of iced tea, try adding sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, and a tablespoon of crushed mint leaves to the quart bottle before you put it into the icebox.

And don't be horrified if it turns cloudy. That doesn't affect the flavor a bit, and the tea will clear when you take it out of the refrigerator. Another smart trick is to mix it half-and-half with grape juice.

Mint Iced Tea

Comic-Style Drawing of Two Girls Making Mint Iced TeaCookie Making Her Homemade Mint Iced Tea
(PD Source: Calling All Girls Magazine - June 1945)

If you'd rather, you can steep the mint right along with the tea. Simply add a teaspoon of crushed mint leaves to the tea in the pot before you pour in the boiling water.

Spiced Ice Tea

Another trick is to put 2 cloves, 6 allspice, and a small bit of stick cinnamon into the pot to steep with the tea. Or put a bit of ginger root into the water, boil a minute or two, and use this water to make the tea.

Cold Water Iced Tea

On a sunny day, you can make basic iced tea without heat. Put 2 tablespoons of tea in a quart bottle or jar — clear glass, please. Fill with cold water and set it in the sun for two hours. Strain the tea over cracked ice.

Instead of Using Ice

You can have wonderful fun with things to put in your tea instead of plain ice. Try orange or lemon sherbet, a scoop to a glass. Or make some fancy ice cubes — like this:

Squeeze a big batch of orange (or lemon) juice and pour it into the ice-cube tray. In each section put something to freeze right into the cube — a leaf of mint, a maraschino cherry, a quarter slice of lemon, lime, or orange, strawberries, black pitted cherries — anything which you think would be good.

Lots of kinds are more fun than all alike, and they make the prettiest glasses of iced tea you can imagine. Have fun experimenting with the old fashioned iced tea recipes.

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