Beat the summer heat with a cold glass of this Watermelon Mint Iced Tea!
“Would you like sweetened or unsweetened?” Huh? Oh yeah, there is such a thing as unsweetened tea. I grew up in the deep South. Charleston, SC. Raleigh, NC. (Ok, Raleigh isn’t deep south…but it’s still very southern.) Baton Rouge, LA. Tea just comes sweetened in these places. You don’t have to ask. (In fact, you have to ask for unsweetened tea.) But up here in the Northeast, tea comes unsweetened. And more often than not, sweet tea isn’t even an option. You have to grab a sugar packet and make your own. I don’t mind at all, but it’s strange little things like this that make me miss the South!
Growing up, we always had a pitcher of sweet tea in the fridge. I swear my poor mother had to make a pitcher every other day with the rate that we drank it, too. Sweet tea is one of those funny things. There’s all sorts of levels of sweetness. I prefer mine with just a hint of sugar. However, I remember my mother would double the amount of sugar in the tea when my brother-in-law would come visit. There was a pitcher labeled “Tea” and another one labeled “Sweet Tea.” Of course, it was the South, so the “Tea” pitcher was still sweet. But the “Sweet Tea” pitcher? I think a spoon could probably have stood straight up in a glass of that tea with how sweet it was!
My mom always added a few sprigs of fresh mint whenever she made tea. In fact, I’ve become so accustomed to mint in my tea that I’ve grown mint in every place that I’ve ever lived. From my apartments after college to my apartments in Baton Rouge and Atlanta. The first thing I would do is find the nearest rain-spout and plant some mint right underneath. (Mint loves hot weather and lots of water…so it grows great under a rain-spout.)
As you gardeners out there know, mint is actually incredibly easy to grow. But if you’ve ever grown mint, then you probably also know how invasive it is. It’s practically a weed with the way it’ll take over a garden! In our yard here, I dug out a little section and lined it with a border of bricks below the ground level. That kinda helps, but I still have to keep an eye out as the mint has been escaping it’s ‘cage’ lately. I’ve also heard of burying a big clay pot in the ground and then planting the mint in that. Just a tip to keep in mind in case you decide to plant some mint! (Now that I think about it, the apartments where I’ve lived are probably overtaken by mint at this point. Oh well, at least the new residents can make plenty of mint sweet tea, right?)
A hot summer day just calls for an ice-cold glass of mint sweet tea. A hot summer day also calls for watermelon. So I decided to get creative and mix these two together to create this Watermelon Mint Iced Tea. It’s a unique and tasty drink to serve on those afternoons when you swear you could fry an egg on the driveway!
I fully recognize that many of you don’t live in the South and probably don’t have an affinity for sweet tea like I do. That’s perfectly fine by me! Just omit the sugar in this recipe. The watermelon already brings a bit of sweetness on it’s own. (Or if you’re like my brother-in-law, feel free to multiple the amount of sugar in this recipe by 20.)
How do you like your tea–sweetened or unsweetened? Have you ever grown mint?