Iced tea and lemonade are two all-time favorite beverages that go great with barbecue. Here are several recipes for both that will compliment your barbecued meats perfectly and quench your thirst on even the hottest summer day.
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Southern-Style Sweet Tea
This may sound strange, but one of my favorite things about the South is that you can get sweetened ice tea in almost every restaurant wherever you go. In fact, the counter help or waitperson will ask, "Sweet or unsweet?" if you just ask for iced tea. It's served in very large glasses with lots of ice—just the way you want it on a sweltering southern day.
If you want to be authentic, use Luzianne tea, a very popular brand in the South. If you can't find it locally, you can order it from their website. Otherwise, use Lipton or a comparable brand of regular black tea.
Bring two quarts of cold water to a boil. Place two family-sized tea bags in a container and add the boiling water. Let the tea steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and add 1/2 to 1 cup of sugar, depending on your preference, and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Let tea cool to room temperature, then serve over ice with lemon, lime, or mint. Best enjoyed the same day of brewing; discard after three days.
Sun tea is great for those extremely hot summer days when you don't want to do anything to heat up the kitchen—just park your container on the patio and let the sun do all the work! Some folks also prefer the lighter taste that results from the sun tea method.
Fill a large glass jar with one gallon of cold water. Add 3 family-sized tea bags and cap jar loosely. Place jar in hot sun for 3-4 hours while you're cooking your barbecue. Remove tea bags, sweeten to taste, and serve over lots of ice with lemon wedges as a garnish.
Refrigerate within one hour of brewing. Discard after three days.
China Mist Fiesta Fria Tea
My favorite barbecue restaurant, Armadillo Willy's BBQ, has been serving China Mist "Fiesta Fria" flavored iced tea for years. It is fragrant and fruity and just the perfect accompaniment to great barbecue. It's so popular that when Armadillo Willy's switched to Lipton, the customer backlash was swift and Fiesta Fria was quickly reinstated!
Brewing is oh so easy. Place one 3/4 ounce package of loose tea in a Mr. Coffee 3-Quart Iced Tea Maker and follow the normal brewing process. This process and brewing machine are recommended by China Mist to achieve restaurant-quality results with their products. Pour over ice, sweeten to taste, and enjoy!
It's next to impossible to find China Mist teas in a store, since they're sold mainly through food service distributors to restaurants. Fortunately, it can be ordered by the box at the China Mist website.
China Mist recommends that you enjoy their teas within 6-8 hours of brewing and that they not be stored overnight. I have found that it can be refrigerated for about three days before the taste and clarity degrade to unacceptable levels.
Hot Dog On A Stick Muscle Beach Lemonade Clone
Here's a recipe clone of the original Muscle Beach lemonade from Southern California, the lemonade you find at those "Hot Dog on a Stick" restaurants in the mall. It's absolutely fantastic!
Squeeze 6-10 lemons, depending on size, to produce 1 cup of fresh juice. Combine the juice with 7 cups cold water and 1 cup sugar in a two quart pitcher. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Slice two of the squeezed lemon rind halves into quarters (eight pieces total) and add the rinds to the pitcher. Add ice to the top of the pitcher and chill.
To serve, place a few thin lemon slices in the bottom of a tall glass, fill with ice, then add lemonade. Plan on drinking this lemonade the same day you make it, as it doesn't keep well overnight.
The Arnold Palmer
Is this really Arnold Palmer's favorite drink? Who knows—he does lend his name and image to one bottler's version of this popular drink—but it's delicious in any event!
Combine 16 ounces of iced tea and 16 ounces of lemonade for a refreshing taste treat. Alternatively, pour lemonade into an ice-filled glass until it's half full, then pour iced tea to the top. The tea will float on top of the lemonade!
Did you know you can convert regular lemonade to pink lemonade by adding cranberry juice? Adding 1/3-1/2 cup of cranberry juice to 8-10 cups of lemonade will do the trick.
Recipe clone for "Hot Dog on a Stick Muscle Beach Lemonade" used with permission from Top Secret Recipes, Inc., (c) 2000, http://www.topsecretrecipes.com